Reference : De dynamiek van hersemantisering
Scientific journals : Article
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
De dynamiek van hersemantisering
De Vos, Lien [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des langues et littératures modernes > Philologie historique néerlandaise - Langue néerlandaise moderne et linguistique synchronique >]
Taal en Tongval
Themanummer 22 - Perspectieven op het genus in het Nederlands
[en] grammatical gender ; language change ; gender change ; semantic gender
[en] The southern Dutch variety has a traditional, so-called ‘grammatical’ gender
system, in which pronouns agree in gender with their antecedent noun, which can
be masculine, feminine or neuter. For most nouns, there is no apparent semantic
motivation underlying gender assignment. However, this kind of grammatical
system may be replaced with a system that makes use of semantically-motivated
gender-marked pronouns, by a process termed ‘resemantisation’. Certain
elements of semantic gender systems are to be found in the language acquisition
of southern children. This paper addresses the question to what extent these
semantic tendencies in pronoun usage by children are indicative of an ongoing
change in the southern pronominal gender system. Hence it focuses on pronominal
gender usage of adults and adolescents as well as language acquiring
children. The results reveal fi rst, that even adolescents do not yet reach an
adult-like profi ciency in the grammatical gender system, and, second, that the
infl uence of grammatical gender on pronominal reference gradually decreases
from generation to generation. Though grammatical gender still stands strong,
clear semantic patterns are observed, which indicate an ongoing process of
resemantisation. The data for adolescents also suggest that the resemantisation
process is pushed forward by language acquirers. In this paper the dynamics
of this process will be discussed as well as how this fi ts in the typology of resemantisation

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