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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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Case study 3: Three-gender languages

Case study 3: Three-gender languages

(p.116) 7 Case study 3: Three-gender languages
The Morphosyntax of Gender

Ruth Kramer

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues to investigate the predictions of the morphosyntactic analysis of gender developed in Chapter 3, and in this chapter the predictions are extended to three-gender languages. The first three-gender language examined is Mangarayi (Australian, non-Pama-Nyungan); it has only interpretable gender features on n and is the three-gender counterpart of Dieri, Zayse, and Zargulla from Chapter 5. The analysis predicts the existence of a three-gender language that contains a n with an uninterpretable gender feature, and this is confirmed via the language Wari’ (Chapacuran). It is also predicted that there will be a three-gender language with two ns with uninterpretable features, and such a system is attested in Lavukaleve (Papuan). The analysis also predicts that neuter will always be the default gender in a three-gender language; this prediction is largely borne out. The chapter closes with an excursus addressing some counterexamples and considering data from other three-gender languages.

Keywords:   gender, morphology, syntax, natural gender, interpretability, default gender, Mangarayi, Wari’, Lavukaleve

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