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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Conference Information

Full Title: Gender and Classifiers: Cross-Linguistic Perspectives

Location: Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Start Date: 17-Jan-2014 - 17-Jan-2014
Contact: Sebastian Fedden
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Dissemination workshop
Gender and classifiers: cross-linguistic perspectives

Gender and classifiers are usually thought of as mutually exclusive systems of noun categorization. In a gender system, as for example in Italian or German, nouns are assigned one or more genders on a semantic or formal basis, and the genders of the language can be defined by sets of markers on agreement targets. In a classifier system, as we find it in Chinese or Vietnamese for instance, a noun appears with a semantically compatible classifier in certain contexts, e.g. quantification with a numeral.

But recent research has turned up more and more languages (mostly Papuan, South American, and Australian) in which the two co-occur together, yielding overlapping and interacting systems of classification. This is an exciting and new area of enquiry which promises to expand our understanding of the semantics and morphology of classification, and of cognitive categories in general.

Date: 17 January 2014
Organized by the Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey,
Guildford, UK

Invited Speakers:

Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)
Professor Gunter Senft (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Typology
LL Issue: 24.3993

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