Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced book.
How and why did grammatical gender, found in Old English and in other
Germanic languages, gradually disappear from English and get replaced by a
system where the gender of nouns and the use of personal pronouns depend on
the natural gender of the referent? How is this shift related to ‘irregular
agreement’ (such as she for ships) and ‘sexist’ language use (such as
generic he) in Modern English, and how is the language continuing to evolve
in these respects? Anne Curzan's accessibly written and carefully
researched study is based on extensive corpus data, and will make a major
contribution by providing a historical perspective on these often
controversial questions. It will be of interest to researchers and students
in history of English, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, language
and gender, and medieval studies.