The issue of gender in multiple language acquisition

Title: The issue of gender in multiple language acquisition
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2012, vol. 38, iss. 1, pp. [5]-22
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The present article focuses on the issue of perception of gender in the case of multiple language acquisition. Each language displays a variation of gender system that is culturally determined and unique. There are languages in which the role of grammatical category of gender is predominant, whereas other display reduced gender systems or they are completely devoid of this feature (Corbett 1991). Since the grammatical category of gender is still the most confusing for many linguists, the authors decided to explore the relation between complex gender systems of Polish and German, and the reduced gender system of English in the process of acquisition. -- The article has a twofold structure: first the theoretical framework is provided to outline the gender systems of the above mentioned languages, and then the research is described and discussed. The main purpose of the conducted research was to investigate to what extent a native language and a second language influence perception of the gender system of a third language. Though it is generally acknowledged that English is devoid of a typical gender system, the authors of the article believe that the learners of English ascribe subconsciously gender to some English nouns transferring gender either from L1 or L2. The problem may seem irrelevant for any discussions for native speakers of English, who indeed perceive concepts without ascribing any gender to them.