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Kongruenz durch Derivation oder die Sprache als Vermittlerin von Genusunterscheidungen
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages. Tyska avdelningen.
2007 (German)In: Language and Gender from Linguistic and Textual Perspectives, Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis , 2007, 103-126 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Agreement by derivation

Traditionally the function of the German suffix –in is considered to be the derivation of female personal denominations such as job-titles, agent nouns etc. So far very little attention has been paid to the fact that even noun phrases not referring to humans can serve as base for derivation with –in when they occur as part of a predicative noun. Examples of this usage are constructions such as die Kirche ist Trägerin des Kindergartens or die Schule als Vermittlerin von Wissen. In this paper it is argued that the reason for this usage is the attainment of formal agreement between the noun and the nominal predicate. Traditionally this use has been regarded as optional at the most, the norm being the use of the masculine, unmarked form.

In order to illuminate the actual use of the constructions with feminine, presumably non-standard agreement, compared to the use of the masculine default, an empirical study has been conducted. The use of masculine and feminine forms respectively has been investigated in a sample of constructions like [Xnoun als Anoun masc] and [Xnoun als A-innoun fem] from the World Wide Web. The results present a picture rather different from the standard descriptions of the phenomenon. Based on these observations it is argued that what we witness is a typical grammaticalization process from gender derivation to more grammatical gender agreement. This process can exemplify how a semantic distinction based on biological sex can permeate into the realm of inanimacy, becoming more grammatical under the process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis , 2007. 103-126 p.
, Studier i modern språkvetenskap, ISSN 0585-3583 ; N.S., 14
Keyword [en]
Gender, grammaticalization, derivation, agreement, German, animacy
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-15182ISBN: 978-91-85445-82-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-15182DiVA: diva2:42953
Available from: 2008-02-06 Created: 2008-02-06 Last updated: 2009-03-11Bibliographically approved

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