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Gender

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Corbett, Greville. Gender: New Horizons Gender systems are endlessly fascinating, from those where meaning determines gender (Tamil), those where it is dominant but leaves intriguing loopholes (Mian) to those where form has an important role (Russian). Now it is time to integrate these systems into a fuller typology of nominal classification, taking in classifier systems as well as gender. Rethinking in this way leads us to take apart characteristics usually lumped together as defining gender, and those defining traditional classifiers. We then see that these characteristics combine in many ways. A canonical perspective proves helpful: we define the notion of canonical gender, and use this idealization as a baseline from which to calibrate the rich variety we find. It is then possible to approach the origin and nature of gender. Here Oceanic languages can provide a unique insight.

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