Most Germanic languages, including Dutch, have a gender system in which each noun belongs to a certain gender. However, the pronouns used to refer to those nouns does not always have the same gender. In the case of inanimate objects, the gender of the pronoun that is used depends of the degree of individuation of the referent object. Masculine and common gender pronouns tend to be used with referents that have a clearly bounded shape (such as the object ‘boek’, Dutch for ‘book’), while neuter gender pronouns tend to be used with referents with less defined boundaries, such as the mass ‘gember’(Dutch for ‘ginger’). Margot Kraaikamp investigates the origin of this semantic agreement pattern in Dutch, when it developed and what factors may have been involved.
M. Kraaikamp: Semantic Versus Lexical Gender.
Prof. F.P. Weerman
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