Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The dynamics of gender complexity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0256-6855
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2499-8800
2019 (English)In: Grammatical gender and linguistic complexity: Volume II: World-wide comparative studies / [ed] Francesca Di Garbo, Bruno Olsson, Bernhard Wälchli, Berlin: Language Science Press, 2019, p. 201-364Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter we view grammatical gender as a category type that emerges, evolvesand disappears in languages as a result of diachronic processes and whose complex-ity grows and diminishes through time (§1–§2). Traditional approaches to gram-matical gender focus on two properties that already presuppose a high degree ofmaturity of gender systems: noun classes and agreement. Here we conceive of gen-der rather as a category type with a semantic core of animacy and/or sex reflectingclasses of referents, which have a propensity to turn into classes of noun lexemes.When growing and retracting, gender characteristically follows the animacy or in-dividuation hierarchy. However, this hierarchical patterning breaks down whenanimacy leaks into the inanimate domain led astray by many different associativepathways, which is why lexical organization according to noun classes has to beinvoked to maintain some sort of order (§3). Gender manifests itself in the form ofmarking on noun-associated words, often within the local domain of noun phrases.Here we put gender marking into the wider context of nominal morphology (non-lexical markers within the noun phrase), which often originate in independent usein headless noun phrases and are extended to headed noun phrases only in a sub-sequent development (§4). As more mature manifestations of gender get organizedin the form of noun classes, they typically follow certain pathways of develop-ment that can be subsumed under the formula “From X to Y” (§5–§6). Agreementis fuzzy as its prototypical non-noun targets gradually develop by way of decate-gorialization from nouns, and controllers and targets are not always simple words,but can be complex (consist of syntactic formal groups) and controllers can be en-tirely contextual (§7). Gender should not be considered in isolation as it is – moreoften than not – parasitic on other grammatical category types, notably number,case, and person, with which it cumulates and which contribute to its high degreeof complexity (§8). Number is particularly tightly intertwined with gender in plu-ralia tantum and other phenomena related to lexical plurality (§9). As gender isorganized in form of systems, its diachronic evolution cannot be captured in termsof individual diachronic processes. When gender systems evolve, there is virtuallyalways co-evolution of connected events. Hence the study of system evolution isindispensable for understanding the complexity of gender (§10). However, the evo-lution of gender also displays characteristic areal and genealogical patterns and issensitive to external factors of language ecology (§11).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Language Science Press, 2019. p. 201-364
Series
Studies in Diversity Linguistics, E-ISSN 2363-5568 ; 27
Keywords [en]
gender, complexity, animacy, historical linguistics, agreement, number, pluralia tantum, system emergence, areal linguistics, language ecology
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175426DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3462784ISBN: 978-3-96110-181-8 (print)ISBN: 978-3-96110-180-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175426DiVA, id: diva2:1365913
Note

Available from: 2019-10-25 Created: 2019-10-25 Last updated: 2019-11-01Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Wälchli, BernhardDi Garbo, Francesca
By organisation
General Linguistics
General Language Studies and Linguistics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

doi
isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 62 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf