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Semantic and grammatical genders in Swedish – independent but interacting dimensions

Josefsson, Gunlög LU (2006) In Lingua 116(9). p.1346-1368
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to outline the basic properties of the gender system in Swedish. I argue that there are two gender dimensions: one grammatical and one semantic. The two systems are independent of each other, but they interact. Crucially, the pronouns den (it.common) and det (it.neuter) can be used both as grammatical and semantic pronouns. The locus of semantic pronouns (as well as related, classifier-like elements) is the topmost layer of the nominal extended projection, a Semantic Phrase. Understanding how the semantic gender system is constructed, in particular the properties of the fourth gender, SUBSTANCE, – which lacks number – helps to explain otherwise strange cases of apparent disagreement on predicative adjectives.... (More)
The purpose of this article is to outline the basic properties of the gender system in Swedish. I argue that there are two gender dimensions: one grammatical and one semantic. The two systems are independent of each other, but they interact. Crucially, the pronouns den (it.common) and det (it.neuter) can be used both as grammatical and semantic pronouns. The locus of semantic pronouns (as well as related, classifier-like elements) is the topmost layer of the nominal extended projection, a Semantic Phrase. Understanding how the semantic gender system is constructed, in particular the properties of the fourth gender, SUBSTANCE, – which lacks number – helps to explain otherwise strange cases of apparent disagreement on predicative adjectives.

Grammatical gender is best analysed as a feature that is merged into a projection, not as as an inherent marking on nouns. Cases where the number feature is absent have traditionally been explained in terms of default agreement. The proposed analysis shows that agreement between the subject, which in such instances is a null semantic pronoun, and the adjective is true agreement. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
semantic gender, substance, disagreement, agreement, grammatical gender, gender
in
Lingua
volume
116
issue
9
pages
1346 - 1368
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000240392700002
  • scopus:33745018435
ISSN
0024-3841
DOI
10.1016/j.lingua.2004.06.011
language
English
LU publication?
yes
additional info
The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Swedish (015011001)
id
0209b0f8-9d41-43c0-9bae-e4a70188aa94 (old id 161625)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 15:32:34
date last changed
2020-01-22 05:26:15
@article{0209b0f8-9d41-43c0-9bae-e4a70188aa94,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this article is to outline the basic properties of the gender system in Swedish. I argue that there are two gender dimensions: one grammatical and one semantic. The two systems are independent of each other, but they interact. Crucially, the pronouns den (it.common) and det (it.neuter) can be used both as grammatical and semantic pronouns. The locus of semantic pronouns (as well as related, classifier-like elements) is the topmost layer of the nominal extended projection, a Semantic Phrase. Understanding how the semantic gender system is constructed, in particular the properties of the fourth gender, SUBSTANCE, – which lacks number – helps to explain otherwise strange cases of apparent disagreement on predicative adjectives. <br/><br>
Grammatical gender is best analysed as a feature that is merged into a projection, not as as an inherent marking on nouns. Cases where the number feature is absent have traditionally been explained in terms of default agreement. The proposed analysis shows that agreement between the subject, which in such instances is a null semantic pronoun, and the adjective is true agreement.},
  author       = {Josefsson, Gunlög},
  issn         = {0024-3841},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {1346--1368},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Lingua},
  title        = {Semantic and grammatical genders in Swedish – independent but interacting dimensions},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2004.06.011},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.lingua.2004.06.011},
  volume       = {116},
  year         = {2006},
}