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New Insights into Slavic Linguistics


Edited By Jacek Witkos and Sylwester Jaworski

This volume presents a number of contributions to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistics Society held in Szczecin, Poland, October 26–28. The largest number of articles address issues related to the (morpho)syntactic level of language structure, and several papers describe results of recent research into different aspects of Slavic linguistics as well. The current volume proves conclusively that Slavic linguists make a remarkable contribution to the development of various theoretical frameworks by analysing linguistic evidence from richly inflected languages, which allows them to test and modify contemporary theories and approaches based on other types of data.
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Gender and Analogical Extension: From Animacy to Borrowings in Polish


Zuzanna Fuchs

Harvard University

1. Introduction1

Contact between Poland and the United States has increased dramatically in the last two decades since the fall of the Soviet Union. The upsurge of American cultural and technological goods entering the Polish culture has impacted many areas of everyday life, including the language, which is now peppered with Americanisms – to the joy of some and displeasure of others. This paper examines whether this increase in the frequency of English loanwords in Polish speech has had an effect on how these lexical items are treated by the grammar. The main topic of discussion is noun borrowings, which must be assigned one of three grammatical genders in Polish, and particular attention is given to the distinction between animate and inanimate masculine nouns, which are treated differently from each other in the accusative singular. Evidence suggests that this distinction may no longer apply to English loanwords, which is a notable diachronic change in the inflectional morphology applied to these borrowings.

2. Background

Unlike English, which has no grammatical gender, the Polish language has three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. While each of these categories includes lexical items of various phonological shapes, this paper will rely on knowledge of only the most common ones: Most feminine nouns end in -a, most neuter nouns end in -o, and masculine nouns have most other endings.

A further division occurs in the masculine gender, in which the...

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