muktibhukti wrote:Regarding gender, the word "neuter" is Latin for "neither" (ne = "not" + uter = "either"). Thus, "neuter" = neither masculine nor feminine.
Thanks for this observation. While it is true that the word neuter only means "neither masculine nor feminine", in Sanskrit, napuṁsakaliṅga means more than just "neither masculine nor feminine", which is why that word doesn't really hit at the essence of napuṁsaka.
In Sanskrit grammar philosophy, we discuss gender in a different way than we do in the world. The way gender works in our daily lives is not the way gender works in grammar. For example, we have words to mean "wife" that are actually puṁliṅga! All objects in the world would be neuter if gender in grammar followed worldly gender. But they are not. So, what is it about the objects of the world that make them one of the genders? We say that each thing in the world (including people) have a ratio of "masculine" and "feminine" qualities. Those things that are more "masculine" (which has nothing to do with being male, in the lay sense of the word) are called "puṁliṅga", those things that are more "feminine" are called "strīliṅga", but then those things that have a balance of these two qualities are called "napuṁsakaliṅga". So napuṁsaka actually includes both qualities, rather than excludes them...
Just some food for thought!
All the best,