samedi 30 octobre 2010

French NUAGE m. vs Spanish NUBE f.

The Open Applied Linguistics Journal, 2008, Volume 1 / p. 69

Some nouns that are grammatically masculine and feminine in French are the opposite grammatical genders in Spanish. Hence, a cloud is masculine in French un nuage, but feminine in Spanish: una nube.

I wanted to insert a comment on the origin of two words French NUAGE and Spanish NUBE.
French NUE f. (cloud) which was replaced later by its derivative (NUE + suff. -age m.) and Spanish NUBE f. both come from Latin nuba f., and are both feminine. French changed NUE f. into a masculine noun by the addition of a masculine suffix.
French NUE f. gave another feminine derivative meaning large cloud with feminine suffix -ée: NUEE f.

NUE f. D'un lat. pop. *nuba, altération du lat. class. nubes «nuage; essaim; multitude; obscurité, voile (fig.)»
NUAGE m. Dér. de nue* auquel il s'est substitué; suff. -age (suff. masculin)
NUEE f. Dér. de nue*; suff. -ée, v. -é.

Prima-elementa: nubes, nubis, f.

Grammatical Gender Affects Bilinguals’ Conceptual Gender

The Open Applied Linguistics Journal, 2008, 1, 68-76

Grammatical Gender Affects Bilinguals’ Conceptual Gender: Implications for Linguistic Relativity and Decision Making

James N. Forbes, Diane Poulin-Dubois, Magda R. Rivero and Maria D. Sera

We used a non-linguistic gender attribution task to determine how French and Spanish grammatical gender affects bilinguals’ conceptual gender. French-English and Spanish-English bilingual, as well as English monolingual adults were asked to assign a male or female voice to 32 color drawings depicting people, animals, and common objects. French-English and Spanish-English bilinguals classified items according to French and Spanish grammatical gender respectively. This effect was replicated for French-English bilinguals on those items whose grammatical gender was opposite in French and Spanish. Unexpectedly, Spanish gender similarly affected classifications by Spanish-English and English-Spanish bilinguals, as well as English monolinguals. We discuss how grammatical gender, possible covariates, and the order of L1 and L2 acquisition, affect conceptual gender as well as implications for decision making. READ MORE

Shedding the light on French grammatical gender...or not

Author: Ayoun, Dalila

Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 10, Number 1, 2010 , pp. 119-141(23)

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company


The present corpus study analyzes 5,016 contextualized DPs drawn from 34 current newspaper and magazine articles to test the so-far unsubstantiated claim that the input provides abundant and clear evidence of the grammatical gender of French nouns. Findings show that 49.76% of noun tokens are not gender-marked; 9.01% of nouns lack a gender-marked determiner, but are modified by a gender-marked adjective; while 41.22% of nouns have a gender-marked determiner. Detailed qualitative and quantitative analyses provide a descriptive and explanatory account of gender-marked contexts and second language learnability implications are discussed. The lack of readily available word-external clues explains why the acquisition of French grammatical gender is notoriously difficult (e.g., Ayoun 2007).

vendredi 29 octobre 2010

Genre, nombre et prépositions des départements

Excellente page sur le genre des noms de départements français


"Les départements prennent le genre du cours d'eau (la Loire), du massif (le Jura), du mont (le Cantal), du point géographique (le Finistère, le Nord), du littoral (la Manche) qui leur donne leur nom.

Certains noms sont composés de deux hydronymes : le Loir-et-Cher (deux noms masculins), l'Ille-et-Vilaine (deux noms féminins), la Meurthe-et-Moselle (idem), l'Indre-et-Loire (idem), la Saône-et-Loire (idem), le Tarn-et-Garonne (masculin et féminin), le Lot-et-Garonne (idem). Le masculin est placé en premier, il donne le genre et le nom reste au singulier.

Un cas particulier : le Maine-et-Loire est constitué de la rivière la Maine et du fleuve la Loire. Par analogie avec l'ancienne province du Maine (Sarthe et Mayenne), le premier nom est devenu masculin. Un autre cas particulier : l'Eure-et-Loir (féminin et masculin) devient masculin par attraction des autres départements construits de manière similaire et parce que le nom commence par une voyelle qui masque le genre.

Certains noms sont déterminés par une catégorie géographique :
– les Bouches-du-Rhône ;
– la Côte-d'Or ;
– les Côtes-d'Armor (anciennement Côtes-du-Nord) ;
– les Hauts-de-Seine ;
– le Pas-de-Calais ;
– le Puy-de-Dôme ;
– le Territoire-de-Belfort ;
– le Val-de-Marne.
C'est le nom déterminant qui donne le genre et le nombre.

D'autres noms sont déterminés par un adjectif :
– Hautes-Alpes ;
– Haute-Corse ;
– Haute-Garonne ;
– Haute-Loire ;
– Hautes-Pyrénées ;
– Pyrénées-Orientales ;
– Bas-Rhin ;
– Haut-Rhin ;
– Haute-Saône ;
– Haute-Savoie ;
– Haute-Seine ;
– Haute-Vienne.

Un nom possède un genre hésitant : la Vaucluse était à l'origine la vallée fermée ou
Valleclusa (1050), on trouve une première mention de 1034, sous la forme castellum Vallem Clusam. Le changement de genre en le Vaucluse a des conséquences sur l'emploi de la préposition.

Un nom est devenu féminin alors que son éponyme est masculin : la Lozère tire son nom du mont Lozère.

Sont masculins les noms qui ne finissent pas par un e caduc : le Morbihan (la mer intérieure), le Calvados, Tarn, Rhône, Gard, Gers, Cantal, Allier, Cher, Doubs, Hérault, Jura, Loiret, Loir, Lot, Ain, Aveyron. "

jeudi 28 octobre 2010

How to Tell the Grammatical Gender of Latin Words

Article by John Garger
Edited & published by Rebecca Scudder on Sep 25, 2010

Latin nouns, pronouns, and adjectives all have a gender. Knowing the gender of a Latin word is key to properly understanding Latin grammar. Learn why Latin words have gender and how to recognize whether Latin words are masculine, feminine, or neuter.
Unlike English, the gender of a Latin word is necessary to apply the various grammatical rules. In Latin, parts of speech with gender include nouns, pronouns, and adjectives which may be masculine, feminine, or neuter. While the gender of some of these parts of speech is obvious, others are not. This fact has two effects. First, it gives native-English speakers a difficult time because they are not used to thinking of inanimate objects as having a gender. Second, failure to memorize the gender of words from the beginning proves disastrous later in intermediate and advanced Latin courses of study.

Read more:

dimanche 17 octobre 2010

Is this the reason for grammatical gender?

What (can) come next?


But the thought that occured to me was that complex and seemingly unnecessary features like grammatical gender can serve to reduce noise in oral communications.

Languages that mark grammatical gender in articles, like Dutch or French, sharply reduce the number of words that can follow them given their context, while the amount of information that has to be stored in the lexicon to make this gain in noise reduction is very small. In French with just two genders, it’s just one bit of information per noun.

I suspect that by losing grammatical gender, Haitian Creole has had to create other distinctions to compensate. The thing is, given a reasonable corpus, this hypothesis should be empirically confirmable.

Read more

PURGGE People United for the Reduction of Grammatical Gender Everywhere

Reading derivationally affixed french words

Authors: V. M. Holmesa; J. K. O'reganb


The recognition of multimorphemic French words was investigated using a procedure that allowed the position of first fixation of the eye to be manipulated and gaze durations to be recorded. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that prefixed and suffixed words were recognised most rapidly when the eye started at points at which the words' stem could be seen distinctly. In Experiment 2, gaze durations for prefixed words equated for surface frequency were longer for words with low-frequency rather than high-frequency stems. The findings support the idea that complex words are accessed in terms of their stem, and that the order in which affixes are listed in an entry is determined by the surface frequency of the entire word formed by the stem plus affix. Alternative accounts of the findings were considered.