Gender in Grammar and Cognition

Gender in Grammar and Cognition

Gender in Grammar and Cognition

Gender in Grammar and Cognition


This volume presents a comprehensive collection of papers offering descriptions of gender systems, historical, areal, and typological reviews, and approaches to the crucial question of its grammatical function.


Any book in its way documents work in progress. But the present one does so in a very particular sense.

Research in gender and in the wider sense in nominal classification is a time-honored subject of linguistics. Aspects of this research history show up in the present book which itself stands in a row with several comprehensive and more recent publications in the field of nominal classification.

In Germany it was the Cologne research group Unityp (19731992) who took up the topic and did intensive research in different systems of nominal classification on a comparative basis and related to an independent tertium comparationis. Conferences were held, proceedings and many working papers (akup - Arbeiten des Kölner Universalien-Projekts) were published. Main works of this research were collectively published in the first three books of the Language Univerals Series (LUS l/I-III) dealing with classificatory systems whithin the so-called Dimension of Apprehension, i.e., with linguistic means to represent an object (Seiler—Stachowiak (eds.) 1982, Seiler—Lehmann (eds.) 1982 and Seiler 1986; for a review of the UNITYP-project see Premper 1992).

In October 1983 a symposium in Eugene, Oregon, took up the subject and resulted in the proceedings Noun classes and categorization encompassing both the description of different types of nominal classification and approaches to understand the cognitive side of the categorization they are connected to (Craig (ed.) 1986).

The early nineties brought the topic to the Netherlands were in Mai 1993 in Nijmegen another workshop was held: Back to Basic Issues in Nominal Classification. Again a broad view was taken and the workshop both contributed to the further description of different systems and made an attempt to filter out the common denominators) of different classificatory systems. Depending on the point of view several candidates qualify as a basic issue, e.g., the cognitivesemantic aspect, the morpho-syntactic aspect, and above all the evernagging question of what the function of nominal classification might be. Furthermore the question was discussed whether the Unityp approach of arranging the different classificatory techniques on a continuum was a suitable framework and whether it would fit to integrate all the systems discussed. Gunter Senft is the editor of the . . .

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