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8 - Noun classes and pronouns

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul R. Kroeger
Affiliation:
Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
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Summary

In this chapter we discuss two topics relating to the syntax, morphology and semantics of nouns and noun phrases. In the first section we will look at ways in which the nouns in a particular language may be sub-classified on the basis of grammatical markers. In the second section we will look at pronouns and pronoun systems.

Noun classes and gender

In the preceding chapter we made several references to the “gender” of a noun. The term gender has a very specific meaning in linguistics. Essentially, a gender system is a partitioning of the category N which has morphological consequences of a particular kind. In languages that have grammatical gender, each noun of the language is assigned to one of a small, fixed set of sub-classes, and the sub-class of each noun is reflected in some type of agreement morphology. In chapter 7 we saw examples of determiners and adjectives agreeing with the gender of their head noun in Portuguese (33), and of Russian past tense verbs agreeing with the gender of singular subjects (25).

Another common strategy for marking the sub-class of a noun is through the use of noun classifiers. Classifiers are separate words that occur inside the NP in certain contexts (e.g. when the NP also contains a numeral or quantifier) and serve to indicate the sub-class of the head noun. We will discuss each of these strategies in turn. Then in section 8.1.3 we will summarize the crucial differences between gender and classifier systems.

Type
Chapter
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Analyzing Grammar
An Introduction
, pp. 128 - 146
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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  • Noun classes and pronouns
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.009
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  • Noun classes and pronouns
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.009
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Noun classes and pronouns
  • Paul R. Kroeger, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas
  • Book: Analyzing Grammar
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801679.009
Available formats
×