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Grammatical gender in New Guinea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The present study investigates the gender systems of 20 languages in the New Guinea region, an often overlooked area in typological research. The languages were classified with five criteria used by Di Garbo (2014) to classify gender systems of African languages. The results showed that the gender systems were diverse, although around half of the languages have two-gendered sex-based systems with semantic assignment, more than four gender-indexing targets, and no gender marking on nouns. The gender systems of New Guinea are remarkably representative of the world, although formal assignment is much less common. However, the gender systems of New Guinea and Africa are very different. The most significant difference isthe prevalence of non-sex-based gender systems and gender marking on nouns in Africa, whereas the opposite is true in New Guinea. However, gender in Africa is also less diverse largely due to the numerous Bantu languages. Finally, four typologically rare characteristics were found in the sample: (1) size and shape as important criteria of gender assignment, with large/long being masculine and small/short feminine, (2) the presence of two separate nominal classification systems, (3) no gender distinctions in pronouns, and (4) verbs as the most common indexing target. 

Abstract [sv]

Denna studie undersöker genussystemen hos 20 språk i Nya Guinea-regionen, vilken ofta förbises i typologisk forskning. Språken klassificerades utifrån fem kriterier som användes av Di Garbo (2014) för att klassificera genussystem i Afrika. Resultaten visade att genussystemen var varierade, men ungefär hälften av språken har könsbaserade genussystem med tvaå genus, semantisk genustilldelning, fler än fyra genusindex och ingen genusmarkering på substantiv. Genussystemen är anmärkningsvärt representativa för världen, men formell genustilldelning är mycket mindre vanlig. Jämfört med genussystemen i Afrika är dock Nya Guinea väldigt annorlunda. Den viktigaste skillnaden är den större utbredningen av icke-könsbaserade genussystem och genusmarkering på substantiv i Afrika, medan motsatsen gäller i Nya Guinea. Genus i Afrika är dock till stor del mindre varierat på grund av de talrika bantuspråken. Slutligen hittades fyra typologiskt sällsynta karaktärsdrag i urvalet: (1) storlek och form som viktiga kriterier för genustilldelning, där stort/långt är maskulint och litet/kort feminint, (2) närvaron av två separata nominalklassificeringssystem, (3) inga genusdistinktioner i pronomen och (4) verb som det vanligaste genusindexet. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 64 p.
Keyword [en]
agreement, grammatical gender, indexation, New Guinea, Papuan languages, typology
Keyword [sv]
grammatiskt genus, indexering, kongruens, Nya Guinea, papuanska språk, typologi
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119839OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119839DiVA: diva2:848774
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Examiners
Available from: 2015-08-26 Created: 2015-08-26 Last updated: 2015-08-26Bibliographically approved

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