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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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Gender is not on Num

Gender is not on Num

Evidence from Somali and Romanian

(p.147) 8 Gender is not on Num
The Morphosyntax of Gender

Ruth Kramer

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on nouns that switch genders in the plural in two languages: Somali and Romanian. At first, this phenomenon seems to be good evidence for gender features being on the Number head (which expresses plurality); the Number head is directly conditioning gender. However, the chapter demonstrates how a gender-on-n analysis accounts for these facts. For Somali, it is argued that all plurals are formed via n, and this explains why switching numbers can (but need not) involve switching genders. For Romanian, arguments are presented in favor of the standard analysis of gender-switching nouns: they are unspecified for gender. It is shown how this plays out in a n approach to gender, and how it results in the gender of such nouns being dependent on number. For both languages, it is demonstrated how a gender-on-Num approach fails to capture major generalizations; thus a gender-on-n analysis is further supported.

Keywords:   gender, morphology, syntax, plural, Somali, Romanian, Num, default gender

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