“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)
Title:

Gender on definite pronouns

Author:
Publication: Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics, X (1)
p-ISSN:2069-9239
Publisher:Universitatea din București
Place:București
Year:
Abstract:This paper explores some issues related to the interpretation of gender on definite pronouns. Gender in definite pronouns (i.e. personal and demonstrative pronouns) may either reflect the gender of the noun of the antecedent (grammatical gender) or a property of the referent (natural gender). We can note, across languages, that natural gender may override grammatical gender for persons but not for inanimates. I explain this by assuming that neuter natural gender means lack of descriptive content, the inanimate interpretation arising from an implicature, and that a general principle requires pronouns to bear a descriptive specification whenever possible (this specification can be represented either by nominal anaphora or by the descriptive content of natural gender). It follows that neuter natural gender is only used for entities which do not fall under a nominal concept (propositional objects, denoted by clauses, and uncategorized perceptual objects). In languages with the two-fold opposition masculine/feminine, special pronouns lacking grammatical gender (the so-called call ‘neuter pronouns’) are used for entities which do not fall under a nominal concept. Romanian patterns with these languages, which supports the idea that Romanian does not have a three-gender system, but a two-gender one. Having established that in Romanian the category of Gender does not have more than two values, I discuss several possible analyses of the so-called ‘neuter’ nouns in this language, concluding that genders must be distinguished from nominal agreement classes, as proposed by Corbett (1991). Romanian can be described as having two genders and three nominal classes. A minimalist formalization of this distinction is put forth, which is based on Ritter’s (1993) proposal that Gender is generated on Num in Romance languages.
Key words:definite pronouns, gender, semantics, neuter pronouns, Romanian neuter
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Citations to this publication: 2

References in this publication: 4

3Blanca CroitorAcordul în gen al sintagmelor coordonateSIL2, 4132009
2Paula DiaconescuLe nombre et le genre du substantif roumain (Analyse contextuelle)RRL, IX (2), 1711964
3I. I. BujorGenul substantivelor în limba romînăLR, IV (6), 511955
13Wilhelm Meyer-LübkeGrammatik der romanischen Sprachen
I. Lautlehre
Fues's Verlag (R. Reisland)1890

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