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Languages 2018, 3(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030028

Investigating Gender Assignment Strategies in Mixed Purepecha–Spanish Nominal Constructions

1
Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Postbus 9515, 2300 Leiden, The Netherlands
2
Department of Psychology, The University of Southern Mississippi, 231 118 College Drive, #5025 Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Code-Switching)
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Abstract

Purepecha has no grammatical gender, whereas Spanish has a binary masculine–feminine system. In this paper we investigate how early sequential Purepecha–Spanish bilinguals assign gender to Purepecha nouns inserted into an otherwise Spanish utterance, using a director-matcher production task and an online forced-choice acceptability judgement task. The results of the production task indicate a strong preference for masculine gender, irrespective of the gender of the noun’s translation equivalent, the so-called “masculine default” option. Participants in the comprehension task were influenced by the orthography of the Purepecha noun in the -a ending condition, leading them to assign feminine gender agreement to nouns that are masculine in Spanish, but preferred the masculine default strategy again in the -i/-u ending condition. The absence of the “analogical criterion” in both tasks contrasts with the results of some previous studies, underlining the need for more comparable data in terms of task type. Our results also highlight how task type can influence the choices speakers make, in this context, in terms of the choice of grammatical gender agreement strategy. Task type should therefore be carefully controlled in future studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: code-switching; grammatical gender; mixed nominal constructions; Purepecha; Spanish; gender assignment strategies; task effect code-switching; grammatical gender; mixed nominal constructions; Purepecha; Spanish; gender assignment strategies; task effect
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Bellamy, K.; Parafita Couto, M.C.; Stadthagen-Gonzalez, H. Investigating Gender Assignment Strategies in Mixed Purepecha–Spanish Nominal Constructions. Languages 2018, 3, 28.

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