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The three-gender system in two varieties of Jämtlandic

Van Epps, Briana LU (2012) SPVR02 20121
Master's Programme: Language and Linguistics
Division of Swedish subjects, Danish, and Icelandic
Abstract
This master's thesis is a study on the gender system of the Swedish dialect spoken in Jämtland, a province in northern Sweden. The Jämtlandic dialect preserves to a large extent the three-gender system that was present in Old Swedish, in which nouns can be either masculine, feminine or neuter. The three-gender system manifests in anaphoric pronouns and as agreement in the noun phrase. However, the gender system is changing under influence from the two-gender system of Standard Swedish. In Standard Swedish, the historical masculine and feminine genders have merged to form the common gender, and the masculine and feminine anaphoric pronouns have been replaced by the reale pronoun "den" for inanimate nouns.

In this thesis, I look at the... (More)
This master's thesis is a study on the gender system of the Swedish dialect spoken in Jämtland, a province in northern Sweden. The Jämtlandic dialect preserves to a large extent the three-gender system that was present in Old Swedish, in which nouns can be either masculine, feminine or neuter. The three-gender system manifests in anaphoric pronouns and as agreement in the noun phrase. However, the gender system is changing under influence from the two-gender system of Standard Swedish. In Standard Swedish, the historical masculine and feminine genders have merged to form the common gender, and the masculine and feminine anaphoric pronouns have been replaced by the reale pronoun "den" for inanimate nouns.

In this thesis, I look at the current situation of the three-gender system in the two Jämtlandic towns of Hammerdal and Oviken. The material for my study is a questionnaire consisting of 30 items, which was distributed to 67 informants. The questions ask informants to match nouns from different classes with anaphoric pronouns, definite articles, first-person possessive pronouns and indefinite articles. An informant's choice of pronoun or agreement reveals the gender they consider the noun to possess. In my analysis, I look at the variability among these four types of gender agreement as well as differences between classes of nouns. In addition to discussing overarching patterns, I consider the effect of participants' age, gender, education and location on their responses. The results are compared to three previous studies of other Swedish dialects with three-gender systems.

My overall results show that while the three-gender system is still present in the dialect, there are signs that the two-gender system is gaining ground. Questions on anaphoric pronouns received significantly more non-traditional responses than the other question types, indicating that the change to two genders is being led by anaphoric pronouns. In addition, nouns with traditionally feminine suffixes have a high rate of non-traditional responses. My study shows that neither age, gender, education or location have a significant effect on participants' responses. (Less)
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author
Van Epps, Briana LU
supervisor
organization
course
SPVR02 20121
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
language
English
additional info
Thesis work funded by a ten-month Fulbright Grant for research and travel to Sweden.
id
2798429
date added to LUP
2012-06-19 10:27:58
date last changed
2015-12-14 13:27:06
@misc{2798429,
  abstract     = {This master's thesis is a study on the gender system of the Swedish dialect spoken in Jämtland, a province in northern Sweden. The Jämtlandic dialect preserves to a large extent the three-gender system that was present in Old Swedish, in which nouns can be either masculine, feminine or neuter. The three-gender system manifests in anaphoric pronouns and as agreement in the noun phrase. However, the gender system is changing under influence from the two-gender system of Standard Swedish. In Standard Swedish, the historical masculine and feminine genders have merged to form the common gender, and the masculine and feminine anaphoric pronouns have been replaced by the reale pronoun "den" for inanimate nouns.

In this thesis, I look at the current situation of the three-gender system in the two Jämtlandic towns of Hammerdal and Oviken. The material for my study is a questionnaire consisting of 30 items, which was distributed to 67 informants. The questions ask informants to match nouns from different classes with anaphoric pronouns, definite articles, first-person possessive pronouns and indefinite articles. An informant's choice of pronoun or agreement reveals the gender they consider the noun to possess. In my analysis, I look at the variability among these four types of gender agreement as well as differences between classes of nouns. In addition to discussing overarching patterns, I consider the effect of participants' age, gender, education and location on their responses. The results are compared to three previous studies of other Swedish dialects with three-gender systems.

My overall results show that while the three-gender system is still present in the dialect, there are signs that the two-gender system is gaining ground. Questions on anaphoric pronouns received significantly more non-traditional responses than the other question types, indicating that the change to two genders is being led by anaphoric pronouns. In addition, nouns with traditionally feminine suffixes have a high rate of non-traditional responses. My study shows that neither age, gender, education or location have a significant effect on participants' responses.},
  author       = {Van Epps, Briana},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The three-gender system in two varieties of Jämtlandic},
  year         = {2012},
}