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How Gender Shapes the World$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723752.001.0001

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The rise and fall of Linguistic Genders

The rise and fall of Linguistic Genders

(p.76) 6 The rise and fall of Linguistic Genders
How Gender Shapes the World

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

Genders can develop out of lexical items or noun categories with meanings of animacy or humanness. The meanings of Linguistic Genders can change over time. Linguistic Genders can be gained, or lost, if languages are in contact with each other. Social changes may affect the use of Linguistic Genders applied to human beings. But losing—or gaining—a Linguistic Gender is independent of increase or decrease in equality of Social Genders. The chapter addresses the mechanisms of developing Linguistic Gender, and the ways in which Linguistic Genders can be reshaped and lost. Special attention is paid to the history of the loss of agreement gender in English. We then turn to the role of language contact and language obsolescence in the development of Linguistic Gender, and to the ways in which it is acquired by children and lost in language dissolution. We then address the impact of reforms on Linguistic Gender.

Keywords:   Linguistic Gender, development, language contact, language dissolution, child language acquisition, linguistic reform, Social Gender

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