The Feminine Gender in Indo‐European

D. Gary Miller

in Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume II

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595288 | DOI:
The Feminine Gender in Indo‐European

Show Summary Details


Cultural input in inflection is expected because (i) syntax is projected from the lexicon and (ii) the lexicon is the interface between the grammar and the culture which shapes the lexicon. Gender systems constitute a minority type of classifier that occur in clusters of adjacent or nearby languages. Parallels for the irradiation of gender from a single word to other words of the same semantic or mythic content suggest a solution for the origin of the feminine gender in Indo‐European. The older common gender : neuter system split in such a way that the collective became feminine by irradiation and the old common gender form became masculine by opposition. This occurred first on *‐o‐ stem nouns and adjectives and gradually spread to other nouns and pronouns by way of an agreement system.

Keywords: lexicon; gender systems; Indo‐European; irradiation

Chapter.  5009 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.