Gender Markedness - The Anatomy of a Counter Example
Jonathan Bobaljik, Cynthia Zocca
May 2009

The morphological expression of gender on nouns displays a puzzling behaviour under ellipsis of nominal predicates. In some instances, it appears that gender can be ignored in the calculation of the identity/parallelism requirement. With other nouns, gender seems relevant and mismatch engenders parallelism violations. With yet a third group of nouns, there is an asymmetry - an overt masculine noun licenses ellipsis of the corresponding feminine, but not vice versa. The difference between the last two groups is exemplified by the English contrast in: John is a {waiter/#prince} and Mary is too (compare #Mary is a waitress/princess, and John is too). We examine six languages, and show that nouns for nobility/titles and kinship nouns form a systematic exception to an otherwise stable marked:unmarked opposition, and that when this class of nouns is factored out, the remaining two classes reflect the inflection/derivation distinction in the morphological realization of gender.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/000732
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Connecticut
keywords: gender, markedness, ellipsis, predicative nouns, morphology
previous versions: v1 [August 2008]
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