Zum aktuellen Stand der Linguistik und ihrer Teildisziplinen. Akten des 43. Linguistischen Kolloquiums in Magdeburg 2008 / The Present State of Linguistics and its Sub-Disciplines. Proceedings of the 43rd Linguistics Colloquium, Magdeburg 2008
Edited By Katrin Schöpe, Renate Belentschikow, Angelika Bergien and Armin Burkhardt
This volume contains the revised versions of 63 papers, written in German, English and French. It considers a broad spectrum of topics and findings from various areas of linguistics and thereby offers a critical review of the field. The authors address questions ranging from grammar, semantics, text and discourse pragmatics to issues from the field of applied linguistics. The volume is concluded by studies on contrastive linguistics and foreign language pedagogy.
Instability of Grammatical Gender: Tentative Explanations
Andrzej M. Skrzypiec, Oleśnica Śląska †
The aim of this paper is to look for explanations why some languages exhibit instability in gender assignment: certain nouns have double gender, which has no (or slight) influence on their meanings, and certain synonyms have different genders. We will also try to account for the interplay between grammatical and semantic agreement. The examples to be presented in this paper come from five Indo-European languages: Polish, English, German, Welsh and Irish.
According to David Crystal (1987: 93, 1994 : 151), gender is a grammatical category, characteristic of word classes such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. The most common contrasts expressed by this category include masculine/feminine/neuter and animate/inanimate. Zygmunt Saloni (1999: 496) and Greville G. Corbett (1991: Ch. 2) add more features to this list: human/nonhuman, shape, size, hierarchy of objects, animal/plant, etc. As Crystal (1994 : 151) points out,
[a] distinction is drawn between natural gender, which involves reference to the sex of real-world entities, and grammatical gender, which is associated with arbitrary word classes, and signals grammatical relationships between words in a sentence.
The exponents of gender, signalling both the class of the noun and its grammatical relationships with the other words in a sentence, include the following ones: the morphological structure of the noun, forms of the adjectives and verbs, relative pronouns and anaphorical personal pronouns. According to Corbett (1991: 226), apart from the structure of the...
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