The diachrony of gender and the interface of semantic and lexical gender in the Dutch language

The diachrony of gender and the interface of semantic and lexical gender in the Dutch language

The diachrony of gender
and the interface of semantic and lexical
gender in the Dutch language

Vol. 2, no. 2, pages 26-34
Author:  
Abigail Lambert
University College Utrecht

Abstract

The application of gender in Indo-European languages is notoriously arbitrary. This is particularly typical of the Dutch language. No single rule defines the way in which gender is determined or structured. Many factors interplay to create the Dutch grammar we have today, yet even these rules are arbitrary to a certain extent, with anomalies to the rules being common.

This paper aims to address the grammatical rules behind the structure of gender in the Dutch language and the way in which this has changed over the centuries. Other underlying grammatical aspects that may be indirectly related to this diachrony are discussed. The factors are assessed and combined in order to explain the phenomena of change. These changes are applied and compared to the grammar of other languages within the Indo-European language family, particularly to the reconstructed grammar of Proto-Indo-European.

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