Print

Print


Nik Taylor wrote:
>
> Robert Hailman wrote:
> > To resolve our whole discussion, though, someone just has to prove what
> > causes gender systems to change.
>
> Dixon gives an example of gender-acquisition from Yanyula, an Australian
> language which has recently acquired gender, by the influence of
> neighboring gendered languages.  One of the genders is "food", marked by
> the prefix ma-, which is related to the noun _mayi_, "edible vegetable
> food"; this language has ergative inflections marked by -Ngu [N = eng],
> when the "food" prefix is added to a word in the ergative, it becomes
> muNgu-, from ma- + -Ngu with the vowel assimilating.  Originally, a noun
> phrase in the ergative would've consisted of _mayi_ in the ergative
> followed by a specific noun in the ergative, and later _mayiNgu_ became
> a prefix _muNgu-_ (thus, a sort of double-marking of case, obConlang:
> Watakassí does that with number, both the gender prefix and the noun
> itself mark pluralization, tho in different ways)
>
> Of course, in the case of Yanyula, it was merely acquiring a distinction
> which existed in neighboring languages, but still, it shows that gender
> can evolve in an un-gendered language.
>

We known languages can aquire gender, but in the case of Yanyula these
distinctions existed in other languages. For a similar process to occur
in our techno-speak, the techo-genders would have to exist in another
language. Maybe a scientific auxlang or something...

--
Robert