Topic: Essays

Last updated: May 3, 2019

Gender marking is a way of explicitly signalling that a linguistic expression refers to a maleor female being (person or animal). This can be achieved by various linguistic means, e. g.,attributive adjectives as in the phrase male nurse, female kangaroo, appositions such as inFrench madame le premier ministre ‘madam prime minister’ and, last but not least, by wordformation:compounding, as in Turkish erkek ö?retmen ‘man teacher’ for ‘male teacher’,German Papageienweibchen ‘parrot female’ or affixation as in Italian attrice ‘actress’. Thecrucial point shared by all these examples is that the semantic feature of gender be signalledby a recurrent and identifiable marker, since not all gender-specific nouns denoting personscarry such a marker.

Thus, e. g., the Turkish kinship terms o?ul ‘son’ or k?z ‘daughter’ aregender-specific by means of their semantics, not their form or grammatical features (sincethere is no grammatical gender in Turkish), and therefore do not fall under gender marking asdefined here.

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On the other hand, the same kinship terms in Italian figlio ‘son’ and figlia’daughter’ signal their gender-specificity by the endings -o and -a, respectively, and so areincluded in the definition


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