Abstract/Details

Gender in the romance languages: An evolutionary approach


2007 2007

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This investigation tests the validity of three theories of languages applied to data on lexical gender in the Medieval period of the Romance languages. By analyzing and comparing data from the Miracles of Our Lady, in combination with data from various other researchers, certain patterns of regularity and irregularity can be observed. The primary focus addresses the lexical gender assignment of nouns in the various Romance languages, in particular in the merger of the Latin neuter gender with the masculine and feminine genders. The overall changes and stasis of the history of lexical gender in the Romance languages, can be applied to various theories of language change in order to analyze and understand various phenomena. The phenomena examined in this investigation include the topics of lexical gender change and stasis, 'undecided' and ambiguous lexical gender assignment, and mass-gender elements. In addition, the theories of Lightfoot (1979, 1991), Keller (1994) and Croft (1996, 2000) are used to eludidate contemporary theoretical understanding of this topic. Lightfoot and Keller are chosen as representatives of Formalism and Functionalism, respectively, as they are often used in order to describe and discuss historical language change; the theory of Croft is a new theory which can benefit from further research. It is found that the theory of Croft (2000) best explains the research questions, but more work is recommended in order to fully understand the various phenomena of lexical gender in the history of the Romance languages, and in order to ensure the veracity of the theory, Croft's (2000) Evolutionary Theory must be tested further.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Linguistics
Classification
0290: Linguistics
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Gender; Historical; Language change; Morphology; Romance; Romance languages
Title
Gender in the romance languages: An evolutionary approach
Author
Harmon, Sarah Elizabeth
Number of pages
199
Publication year
2007
Degree date
2007
School code
0227
Source
DAI-A 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549223771
Advisor
Bauer, Brigitte LM
University/institution
The University of Texas at Austin
Department
Spanish and Portuguese
University location
United States -- Texas
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3278172
ProQuest document ID
304810941
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304810941
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.