Irish grammatical gender language change language contact convergence
Alessio S. Frenda, Gender in Irish between continuity and change, Folia Linguistica, 45, 2, 2011, 283 - 316
Folia Linguistica; 45; 2;
The gender system of Irish appears to have undergone a process of simplification:
traditionally depending on both formal and semantic assignment rules, agreement
in contemporary spoken Irish is still rather conservative within the noun phrase,
but almost exclusively semantic anaphorically. Language contact and the resulting
obsolescence seem to have had some influence on these developments: for
instance, structures that have a functional counterpart in English seem more
resilient than others. But language-internal developments, particularly the
phonetic erosion and loss of word-final syllables, may have played an important
role, too: similar developments have been observed in non-obsolescent languages
like Dutch and French. In this article, I illustrate some specific aspects of the
Irish situation with examples drawn from a corpus of spoken Irish and frame
the simplification process in terms of structural convergence in the context of
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