I want a rough estimate of the percentage of nouns that belongs to each gender category
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
According to a footnote in this study (Warning: PDF file):
which means you can roughly say that 40% are feminine, 40% are masculine and 20% are neuter
An interesting addendum (or extension to all words) to idober's answer:
If you assume that none of these three categories is favoured, and you look at the distribution of articles used, you get a similar result:
Now this is very rough, because you only take into account "der,die,das" while "die" is used in more feminine inflections than "der". There are more inaccuracies, but the rough picture is a nice estimate, I believe.
However, I find it interesting that you get a result that is very close to the study based on CELEX data.
I have been self-studying German by reading the German press for the past 27 months. In the process, I'm writing out almost all unfamiliar German words, including nouns. As of May 10, 2016, there are 23.000 words in my German word list. Today I counted the nouns in my word list and looked into their gender distribution.
It turned out that my list contains around 10.375 nouns, of which about 44% are feminine, 36% are masculine, and 19% are neutral. 47 nouns can be used with any of two genders (e.g. der/das Kalkül or die/das Soja) and Joghurt can be used with either of the three genders: der/die/das Joghurt