In English, most inanimate objects are talked about with the pronoun it. But some things — cars, boats and ships, and tools — can be referred to as if they are a he or a she. These are called metaphorical genders.
“I just saw a classic Corvette. She‘s a beaut!”
“I got the mower ready. I just had to clean him out.”
In the same way, most nouns in Pennsylvania Dutch are referred to with the neuter pronoun it (es). But a small number of nouns can be talked about as if they were a he (eah/een) or a she (see). This is based on the gender of the noun.
Since not every noun can be talked about like this, below is a small (and very incomplete) list of some of them.
|Di Bivvel hott goot advice. See helft millions leit ensahs finna.
|Es hott een kolfa sayna es Gott di eaht gmacht hott, un zayld see aw sayva.
|Ma gleicha da song. Eah is fann fa singa!
Vella song 15 singa. Eah’s hayst…
|Dess is’n importandah video. So ich vett een veisa.
Using Metaphorical Genders
But you can view these metaphorical genders as a bonus that can season your Deitsh conversations.
So, when in doubt about a certain noun, use the it pronoun (es) for inanimate objects. While it may sound a little off to a native speaker, they’ll still understand what you’re saying.
* Footnote 1: In many areas and communities, an unmarried girl or daughter is referred to with the neuter pronoun (es maydel / ’s Esther) until they are married.