NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1154590
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0142-7237
Acquiring an Opaque Gender System in Irish, an Endangered Indigenous Language
Nic Fhlannchadha, Siobhán; Hickey, Tina M.
First Language, v37 n5 p475-499 Oct 2017
An in-depth examination of the acquisition of grammatical gender has not previously been conducted for Irish, an endangered indigenous language now typically acquired simultaneously with English, or as L2. Children acquiring Irish must contend with the opacity of the Irish gender system and the plurifunctionality of the inflections used to mark it, while also experiencing early exposure to the majority language and variability in amount and consistency of adult input in Irish. Data were collected from 306 participants aged 6-13 years, including information on home language background which allowed children to be categorised as being from homes which were Irish-dominant, bilingual, or English-dominant. Novel measures of receptive and productive use of grammatical gender were developed to test children's understanding and production of gender marking. A standard multiple regression conducted which accounted for 39.5% of the variance showed that language background was the strongest predictor of accuracy in marking grammatical gender assignment and agreement. The later stages of acquisition of semantic and grammatical gender have not previously been investigated in Irish, and the implications for researchers, policy makers, educators and parents are discussed.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A