2004
Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214

Abstract

Southern dialects of Dutch have a threefold gender differentiation; thus they diverge both from the Dutch standard language (with an opposition between ‘neuter’ and ‘common’ gender) and the common source language of loan words, French (with an opposition between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’). This set of divergences inspired us to do some research into gender assignment to loan words in Flemish and Brabantish dialects of Belgium. We argue that this assignment is the result of a complex interaction between system-driven (internal) aspects of the dialects concerned, and external influences: gender in either the source language or the mediating language, which in the area under investigation was French for at least the last century and a half. The interaction between both sets of tendencies appears to be at variance in different areas of the geographical entity we look at. The presence of strong formal oppositions between masculine and feminine (as is the case in the central Flemish dialects) results in strong intuitions with native speakers. Neuter gender is not very common in these dialects. However, strong intuitions appear to prevail in Brabant dialects (except the Brussels one) also, in spite of the complete absence of any clear formal indices. In these dialects neuter plays a much more prominent role that may be compared to that in standard Dutch. In all other dialects (the extreme western dialects of Flemish, those of the area between Brabant and central Flemish dialects, and the Brussels dialect) the intuitions are extremely wagering. We present proposals to interpret those differences.

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/content/journals/10.5117/TET2009.1.DESC
2009-01-01
2022-01-19
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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