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Gender from Latin to Romance : History, Geography, Typology (Hardcover) (Michele Loporcaro)

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This book explores grammatical gender in the Romance languages and dialects and its evolution from Latin. Michele Loporcaro investigates the significant diversity found in the Romance varieties in this regard; he draws on data from the Middle Ages to the present from all the Romance languages and dialects, discussing examples from Romanian to Portuguese and crucially also focusing on less widely-studied varieties such as Sursilvan, Neapolitan, and Asturian. The investigation first reveals that several varieties display more complex systems than the binary masculine/feminine contrast familiar from modern French or Italian. Moreover, it emerges that traditional accounts, whereby neuter gender was lost in the spoken Latin of the late Empire, cannot be correct: instead, the neuter gender underwent a range of different transformations from Late Latin onwards, which are responsible for the different systems that can be observed today across the Romance languages. The volume provides a detailed description of many of these systems, which in turns reveals a wealth of fascinating data, such as varieties where 'husbands' are feminine and others where 'wives' are masculine; dialects in which nouns overtly mark gender, but only in certain syntactic contexts; and one Romance variety (Asturian) in which it appears that grammatical gender has split into two concurrent systems.The volume will appeal to linguists from a range of backgrounds, including Romance linguistics, historical linguistics, typology, and morphosyntax, and is also of relevance to those working in sociology, gender studies, and psychology.

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