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Semantically driven change in German(ic) gender morphology
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages, German.
2011 (English)In: Folia linguistica, ISSN 0165-4004, E-ISSN 1614-7308, Vol. 45, no 2, 317-353 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are many examples of gender loss in the Germanic languages, but none of the rise or return of a particular gender. However, there has been substantial change in gender morphology, involving an increase in morphological complexity. The gender system of German appears to be extremely robust when it comes to the number of genders. In this article, I will introduce a principle for the semantic restructuring of gender systems. Focusing on target gender morphology, I argue that constructive changes have as their point of departure semantic features that lie at the core of the gender system. I stress that such changes affect sub-systems, resulting in layers of gender markers that can evolve at different paces. To exemplify how layers of sub-systems can serve to uphold an overall tripartite gender system, I use the repeated restructuring of semantic distinctions in Germanic adjective inflection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
De Gruyter Mouton , 2011. Vol. 45, no 2, 317-353 p.
Keyword [en]
Morphology, gender, German, Germanic, adjective inflection, language change
Keyword [de]
Genus, Deutsch, Germanisch, Adjektivflexion, Sprachwandel, morphology, gender, German, Germanic, adjective inflection, language change
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121827DOI: 10.1515/flin.2011.013ISI: 000296589900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121827DiVA: diva2:306702
Available from: 2011-02-21 Created: 2010-03-30 Last updated: 2011-11-30Bibliographically approved

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