Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2214-3157
  • E-ISSN: 2214-3165
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Languages that lack grammatical gender often still index the sex of humans and higher animates through lexical means (Braun 2001). In the Papuan language Nungon, natural sex is indicated lexically, with gendered person and kin terms. Certain person terms may also function as nominal modifiers. Indexation of sex in these person and kin terms is partially dependent on age. The older the speaker or focal person for the kin relationship, the more likely that his/her sex will determine the term chosen to refer to the addressee or secondary person in the kin relationship. Most kin and person terms for small children disregard the sex of the child; such terms instead employ the sex of the focal person to describe the relationship with the child. Unlike with children, there are no completely gender-neutral terms for adults, although the dedicated male person terms , “man” and , “boy” function in certain contexts with generic reference, meaning “human” and “youth.” Generic application of , “man” relates to syntax: as object argument of deverbal participle expressions has generic reference, as does under negation. Thus, indexation of sex is seen to be partially dependent (per Aikhenvald & Dixon 1998) on negation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aikhenvald, A
    (2010) Imperatives and commands. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Aikhenvald, A. , & Dixon, R.M.W
    (1998) Dependencies in grammatical systems. Language, 74, 56–80. doi: 10.1353/lan.1998.0165
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1998.0165 [Google Scholar]
  3. Braun, F
    (2001) The communication of gender in Turkish. In M. Hellinger & H. Bussmann (Eds.), Gender across languages, Vol. 1 (pp.283–310). Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/impact.9.17bra
    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.9.17bra [Google Scholar]
  4. Engelberg, M
    (2001) The communication of gender in Finnish. In M. Hellinger & H. Bussmann (Eds.), Gender across languages, Vol. 2 (pp.109–132). Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/impact.10.11eng
    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.10.11eng [Google Scholar]
  5. Fleming, L. , & Slotta, J
    (2015) Social pragmatics and types of person reference: The case of proper names vs. kin terms. Presented at theChicago Linguistic Society 51 Meeting. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Matthiessen, P
    (1962) Under the mountain wall: A chronicle of two seasons in the stone age. New York: Vintage.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Haas, M
    (1944) Men’s and women’s speech in Koasati. Language, 20, 142–149. doi: 10.2307/410153
    https://doi.org/10.2307/410153 [Google Scholar]
  8. McElhanon, K
    (1967) Preliminary observations on the Huon Peninsula languages. Oceanic Linguistics, 1(1), 1–45. doi: 10.2307/3622923
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3622923 [Google Scholar]
  9. Sarvasy, H
    (2014) A Grammar of Nungon, a Papuan language of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. PhD Dissertation. Cairns: James Cook University.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. (2015a) Split number in Nungon. Presented at theAnnual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Portland: Linguistic Society of America.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. (2015b) Imperatives and commands in Nungon. Presented atWorkshop on Commands. Cairns: James Cook University.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Wegmann, U
    (1994) Anthropology background study. Manuscript. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Wassmann, J. & Dasen, P.R
    (1994) “Hot” and “Cold”: Classification and sorting among the Yupno of Papua New Guinea. International Journal of Psychology, 29(1), 19–38. doi: 10.1080/00207599408246529
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00207599408246529 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): grammatical gender; kin terms; Papuan languages; pragmatics
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error