Lexical Borrowing Bearing Witness to the Notions of Gender and Inflection Class: A Case Study on Two Contact Induced Systems of Greek


This paper provides a comparative analysis of nominal loanword integration in two different contact in- duced systems of Greek (i.e. Grico and Capapadocian) in order to offer further insights into two major grammatical categories, those of inflection class and gender (from a morpho-semantic viewpoint, i.e. gender assignment). By providing an analysis of the general mechanisms (e.g. natural gender, formal cor- respondences, semantic equivalences, analogy) which account for the integration of loanwords in the ex- amined systems it is shown that notwithstanding the divergence, grammatical gender splits into its two major primitives, the semantic one relating to sex and animacy and the structural one, i.e. as an inflec- tional classifier—in correlation with the notion of inflection class—in the organization of nominal classi- fication types, offering further support to the claim that gender is not a purely morphological or a purely semantic category, but a combination of the two. Each one of the two different facets of grammatical gender along with the notion of inflection class conjoins the need of the systems to provide some type of classification in nouns. However, the realization of those two facets, of one, or none of them, is subject to parametric variation depending, especially in contact induced varieties, on the interplay between the grammatical properties of all the involved systems (i.e. system compatibility, simplification phenomena). The present study is a contribution to the overall language contact studies as well as to the studies on grammatical gender and inflection class and their role in the organization of grammar, emphasizing the role of loanwords in revealing aspects of this organization.

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Melissaropoulou, D. (2013). Lexical Borrowing Bearing Witness to the Notions of Gender and Inflection Class: A Case Study on Two Contact Induced Systems of Greek. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 367-377. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.34048.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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