Excuse the Latinate words that follow as I have been neglecting my Anglish, and so my English is rife with laziness…
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love complex grammar. I, however, have encountered a few words that can be either masculine, or feminine — if one is trying for agendered speech, replace these with group A, and group B as one sees fit —. It depends on dialect, and case in most words.
Now, a quick history, Porto-Indo-European had two genders — probably animate, and inanimate. This then split in most languages into masculine, feminine (both from the animate side), and neuter (from the inanimate). This is a huge generalisation.
This system — masculine, feminine, and neuter — is in proto-Celtic. Old Irish maintained this, but after the settlement of western Scotland, Gaelic started to lose this. Neuter nouns started being changed to masculine, or feminine…some never made the switch fully though.
In sweeps muir. Muir is a common word for sea — my favourite is fairge, but more on that another time —. It comes from a neuter word, though.
Apparently, most dialects treat it as masculine in the nominative, but feminine in the genitive.
So, I am given a few options:
• Learn the mixed paradigms, and sound more native
•Select it as a masculine noun — as the vast majority of neuter nouns went that way —, and risk sounding uneducated as I do not know the correct paradigm.
•Select it as a feminine noun, and risk sounding bizarre.
I am not sure which way I will choose, but I needed to dissect it with you.
Be safe. Be loved.