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EthnosyntaxExplorations in Grammar and Culture$
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N. J. Enfield

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266500

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266500.001.0001

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Masculine and Feminine in the Northern Iroquoian Languages

Masculine and Feminine in the Northern Iroquoian Languages

(p.99) 5 Masculine and Feminine in the Northern Iroquoian Languages


Oxford University Press

This chapter describes a morphological pattern in which there is obvious bias toward masculine gender paired with ambiguity and lack of distinctiveness in the expression of feminine gender. It then describes the ancient culture pattern in which males had a conspicuous, flamboyant, constantly changing, and individualized role that contrasted with the stable, undifferentiated, background role of women. The chapter discusses the plausibility of hypothesizing a motivational relation between the culture pattern and the morphology. Using Northern Iroquoian culture as a case study, the chapter shows that the correspondence between morphology and culture is no longer present in certain areas, and that the morphological backgrounding of feminine gender does not quite reflects the role of women in Iroquoian society.

Keywords:   morphology, morphological patterns, Iroquoian languages, masculine, feminine

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