Using <i>He</i> and <i>She</i> for Inanimate Referents in English: Questions of Grammar and World View


in Ethnosyntax

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780199266500
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191719363 | DOI:
Using He and She for Inanimate Referents in English: Questions of Grammar and World View

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This chapter compares two studies of grammatical animation in varieties spoken in Australia, and two regions in the US are compared to address the following questions: What are the functions of animation? Do gender assignments to inanimate entities follow semantic principles? How long have these patterns of pronoun use been widespread in English? It is argued that many of the data in the American study can be reinterpreted to fit the semantic principles in the Tasmanian data. However, there remains some material that cannot be reconciled with Tasmanian data, chiefly some patterns of usage by American women.

Keywords: culture; language; grammatical animation; Tasmanian; ethnosyntax; gender assignment

Chapter.  11115 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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