Datapoint for feature 30A and language wals_code_eng

Discuss WALS Datapoint for feature 30A and language wals_code_eng.

7 Responses to “Datapoint for feature 30A and language wals_code_eng”

  1. Werner Voigt Says:

    I agree that there are three genders in modern English, but only in pronouns they are visibly marked. I found the same description for English and German. There should be a difference in the symbols between languages with less and more differentiated gender markings

  2. Mark Dallas Says:

    English hasn’t had genders (except in 3rd-person singular personal pronouns) for about a millennium

  3. Alexis Wilke Says:

    Mark, Not quiet. The genders remained in Middle English. It is around 1600 that they made it more of a rule to not use masculine and feminine. So it is only half a millennium.

  4. Mark Dallas Says:

    Alexis: As Werner explains, gender is only marked on personal pronouns in English. I believe the period you refer to is when he/she and his/her started to become outmoded when referring to inanimates, while ‘whose’ is still used.

    I refer to gender understood as noun class, which would affect the determiner (there were 13 forms of ‘the’ in Old English).

  5. beneficii Says:

    By 1350, all dialects of English had lost grammatical gender, with the Kent dialect the last to lose it.

  6. Mick Robertson Says:

    OK… who thought it was funny to say that English has three genders and no source even trying to make an argument for it?

  7. Mocha Says:

    Section 1 of the chapter clearly defines the criteria used for determining whether a language has gender. In Particular:

    “Most scholars working on agreement include the control of anaphoric pronouns by their antecedent (the girl … she ) as part of agreement. If this is accepted, as we do here, then languages in which free pronouns present the only evidence for gender will be counted as having a gender system.”

    English clearly falls into this category, which is why it’s counted.

    But I do agree that it would be nice to have a subchapter on the degree of expression of noun class in a language.

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