Lecture: Gender syncretism
In this talk I want to address a very basic and fundamental question regarding gender: How do gender features look like? In order to approach this question I will present different patterns of gender syncretism. An investigation of these patterns will show what they can tell us about gender features.
Both gender and syncretism have been discussed from many perspectives in the literature so far (for gender see for example Corbett 1991 and Kramer 2015b, for syncretism see Baerman et al. 2004 among many others). In my master's thesis I want to explore the combination of both topics. Work from Kramer (2015a, 2019, to appear) and the references above addressed already some interesting questions that arise within this combination of topics. However, there are still many questions that have to be answered or investigated in more detail.
First of all, the question right at the beginning is which patterns of syncretisms one can find in the languages of the world in the domain of gender. Some patterns have already been noted in the literature. However, aspects like the combination of syncretisms have been neglected so far. A detailed investigation of possible and potentially impossible syncretisms can lead to interesting insights regarding gender in general and gender features. How do gender features look like and which gender features does one actually need in order to describe the syncretism patterns? These are questions that I want to address in my thesis. In the talk I want to present some of the data that are interesting in this respect. I will show how the data could tell us more about the above mentioned questions and how potential answers could look like.