Grammatical Gender: Acquisition, Attrition, and Change
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionJournal Of Germanic Linguistics. 2021, 33 (1), 95-121. 10.1017/S1470542720000057
This paper discusses grammatical gender in Norwegian by bringing together data from first language acquisition, Norwegian heritage language, and dialect change. In all these contexts, gender is often claimed to be a vulnerable category, arguably due to the relative non-transparency of gender assignment. Furthermore, the feminine gender is in the process of being lost in many Norwegian dialects, as feminine agreement forms (for example, the indefinite article) are merged with the masculine. The definite suffix, in contrast, is quite stable, as it is acquired early and does not undergo attrition/change. We argue that the combined data provide evidence that gender and declension class are separate phenomena, and we outline a possible formal analysis to account for the findings.