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Academic Paper


Title: Humanness in the 3rd Person Singular Personal Pronoun in Alemannic Dialects
Author: Raffaela Baechler
Linguistic Field: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: German, Swiss
Abstract: This paper surveys the emergence of the category humanness in the 3rd person singular personal pronoun in Alemannic (southwest German) dialects. The first part shows that some Alemannic dialects have developed a human/nonhuman distinction in the 3rd person singular neuter personal pronoun: a marked form encoding the human direct object has emerged. The emergence of this form can be explained by the differential object marking hypothesis. The second part reports on a pilot study of the 3rd person singular personal pronoun in Sense Alemannic on the basis of new data. In this dialect, humanness is distinguished not only in the neuter but also in the masculine and feminine. Additionally, some instances are observed that violate the differential object marking principle. Thus, both principles (humanness marking and the differential object marking) form part of the grammar, but the latter one may be violated.

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This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 30, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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