Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Grammatical gender has been thoroughly investigated in codeswitching (CS) research. When (only) one of the languages involved in CS has grammatical gender, it has repeatedly been shown that (simultaneous) bilinguals assign default gender to a codeswitched noun from a genderless language (Liceras et al. 2008Valdés Kroff et al. 2017Parafita Couto 2019). For Spanish, “[t]here is little doubt that masculine is the unmarked or default gender” (Harris, 1991, 43). When looking at Belgian Dutch however, the picture is a bit more complicated, as it is not clear which determiner is unmarked for gender. Rooryck (2003) argues that the neuter gender is the under-specified category, while the masculine and feminine are marked for gender. This would predict that English nouns would be preceded by a neuter determiner when incorporated in a Belgian Dutch sentence. However, it seems to be the case that masculine, rather than neuter, is the preferred determiner for English codeswitches into Dutch. This paper reports on an acceptability judgment task in which simultaneous bilinguals were asked to rate (Belgian) Dutch sentences containing an English noun on a 7 point scale. Results surprisingly show a preference for feminine gender, in addition to neuter being dispreferred. I speculate that this unexpected result is due to influence from Standard Dutch.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Belgian Dutch; codeswitching; default gender; English; grammatical gender
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