ERIC Number: ED202203
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Markedness and the Gender Feature in Spanish.
No formal notion of markedness has been advanced for syntactic-semantic features of language. A hypothesis is presented which states that if all related features are defined as comprising sets, then it is possible to predict the occurrence of a member of a set by the absence of any other member of the set. Any lexical item subcategorized for gender will be specified, for example, as being feminine or it will carry no gender specification at all. This hypothesis is supported with evidence from Spanish (1) loan words, (2) nominalized lexical items, (3) compound verb forms, and (4) first and second plural personal pronouns. The process of neutralization characterizing gender specification is defined as two conflicting features merging into one (the unmarked) when the underlying structures predict the use of both. A logical correlation in markedness between syntax and morphology frequently exists. Morphologically unmarked elements are used in more syntactic situations than their marked counterparts. Among the situations from Spanish cited are: (1) the replacement of "le" by "se"; (2) the use of the less morphologically marked present tense syntactically to replace the imperfect, preterite, and future; and (3) the use of the (unmarked) singular form of nouns to indicate mass and abstract nouns. (JK)
Descriptors: Indo European Languages, Morphology (Languages), Nouns, Pronouns, Romance Languages, Semantics, Spanish, Syntax, Verbs
Linguistic Research Inc., P.O. Box 5677, Station L, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6C 4G1 ($10.00 for entire proceedings).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Linguistic Research, Inc., Edmonton (Alberta).
Identifiers: Gender (Language); Markedness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the (Canadian) Western Conference on Linguistics (8th, October 20-21, 1978). In its Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Western Conference on Linguistics, p114-22, 1978.