Gender and Analogical Extension: From Animacy to Borrowings in Polish
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.
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