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Annotated Bibliography on Feminine Gender

3 pages
604 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Annotated bibliography
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Montes-Alcala, C& Shin, N. (2011). Las keys versus el key Feminine gender assignment in mixed-language texts

Studies on languages mixing have shown that there are similarities in both written and oral language production in regard to the pragmatic and syntactic patterns. Even if most of the language mixing researchers tends to concentrate on oral data, the past few years have revealed a new interest in the study of the mixed language that is in written production. However, the two modes of language production present clear differences because of the level of consciousness that is in the written in meta-linguistic knowledge and in written discourse. This papers interest is to ascertain whether masculine gender will prevail as a default gender assigned to loanwords that are written in discourse as it is in oral discourse.

Secondly, the article analyzed loanwords that do not follow this default gender strategy. It found that words that the reasons for assigning feminine gender are different for oral and written due to the awareness involved in writing results to different gender mechanism. Most of the research that has conducted on loanwords gender assignments found that biological sex overrides any other factor when assigning gender to an inanimate noun. In other words, biological factor dictates that sex often determine gender assignment in loan words that tend to refer to the animate beings. Another factor mentioned in much literature is the tendency to assign gender to all loan words, and this trend is usually referred to as default gender.

The phonological shape of a loanword sometimes is a determining factor in gender assignment most especially for the loanwords that have been morphologically or phonologically assimilated into the host language. Most studies on this issue have established that the phonological ending of loanwords accounts for the deviations from the default masculine. This study also has established that with the exception of loanwords with an animate referent, the most important factor in gender assignments is the phonetic ending of the loanwords. This is because the same word can be given to masculine or feminine d=gender basing on the way it has been phonologically adapted. In fact, some recent research has shown the significance of phonological shape in gender assignment where all nouns that end with (-ing) were given or assign masculine gender while those that end with (-a) or (-ion) were assigned the feminine gender.

On the other hand, the analogical gender was referred to as a synonymic gender. This gender is determined by the gender of its translation that is equivalent to the host language. The assignment of gender by analogical criterion requires some good knowledge of the donor language. This criterion has been controversial in the literature because of the quoted argument that if loans words are employed, it is due to the escape of the native word the speaker and thus, there is no good reason to claim that the speakers subconscious should have whispered the gender of the native equivalent to him when it failed to deliver the equivalent itself. Nevertheless, analogical gender has come up as the major criterion in the determination of the gender assignments in many studies.

The results of this study revealed the similarities and the significant distinction between written and oral bilingual discourse with respect to loanwords gender assignments. The research has proved that in both types of discourse either the default masculine or barer nouns prevail. However, it is clear that there is a notably higher rate of feminine loanwords in written than in oral. Production predicted earlier on.


Montes-Alcala, C& Shin, N. (2011). Las keys versus el key Feminine gender assignment in mixed-language texts

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