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The Morphosyntax of Gender$
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Ruth Kramer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199679935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679935.001.0001

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Defining gender

Defining gender

(p.65) 4 Defining gender
The Morphosyntax of Gender

Ruth Kramer

Oxford University Press

The purpose of this brief chapter is to clarify the typological definition of gender as a prelude to the cross-linguistic case studies in subsequent chapters. The chapter presents the standard definition of gender, and illustrates its application with data from French and Hungarian. The standard definition of gender treats classifier systems and declension classes as not being gender, and the chapter shows why this is so. The standard definition does, however, treat noun class and pronoun-gender-only systems as gender systems, and the chapter reviews these types of systems as well. The chapter concludes with a tentative amendment to the typological definition of gender in order to include the robust cross-linguistic generalization that semantics determines the gender of at least a subset of nouns in each gender system.

Keywords:   gender, typology, classifiers, declension class, noun class, pronominal gender, natural gender

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