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Chapter 6 Agreement Categories 1. Formal Markers of Relationships within the Nominal Phrase The relationships between the members of the Macedonian nominal phrase are morphologically marked by exponents of three grammatical categories:1 gender, number, and definiteness. The category of definiteness is morphologically represented only on the first immediate constituent of the nominal phrase. The categories of gender and number, on the other hand, are redundantly marked on the noun or noun equivalent and its determiners, quantifiers, and modifiers; they can conveniently be labeled “agreement categories,” the label reflecting the formal agreement of the given constituents in gender and number. 2. Gender The grammatical category of gender is a formal and conventional device2 relating the constituents of a nominal phrase and thus marking the unity of the noun phrase. In Macedonian, it is inherent in nouns and pronouns, while in modifiers, determiners, and some quantifiers, it operates through agreement with the noun or noun equivalent. 2.1. Types of Gender There are three types of gender in Macedonian: masculine, feminine, and neuter. The names of the types reflect an association between sex and gender. Yet, sex differentiation occurs only with respect to animate objects, while gender distinctions can be made in reference to all objects. As a matter of fact, one should distinguish between natural and grammatical gender. While the former is based on natural distinctions, 1 The term “category” derives from a Greek word which can otherwise be translated as “predication”. In Aristotelian (and scholastic) philosophy, “categories” were the different ways or modes in which predication could be made of things; it was assumed that the different modes of predication represented differences in the objective world, the different modes of "being" (matter) and “signifying” (form). In contemporary linguistic theory, the term “category” is employed rather non-technically to denote any group of elements or notions which have uniform behavior in given aspects. We are here using this term to account for the morpho-phonological encoding of a number of formal properties which are manifested when the words interrelate. 2 Thus, it is often the case that the same objects have different genders in different languages. 104 A GRAMMAR OF MACEDONIAN which basically are distinctions between the sexes, the latter is a formal device for showing relationships between individual sentential constituents (predominately between the ones of the noun phrase). In the case of [+ human] and some [+ animate] nouns, grammatical gender corresponds to natural gender, i.e., the formal devices marking gender with these nouns correspond to the sex of the person or living being to which the nouns refer. 2.1.1. Topolinjska (1974) argues that the three types of gender are hierarchically ordered—the neuter gender being unmarked, the feminine one most marked. 2.1.1.1. The unmarked status of the neuter gender is argued for through the very general reference of some of the pronouns that function as noun equivalents, namely što ‘what’ and its derivatives nešto ‘something’, ništo ‘nothing’, and sešto ‘everything’. 2.1.1.2. The less marked status of the masculine gender, as compared to that of the feminine gender, is argued for through the fact that the pronouns koj ‘who’, nekoj ‘somebody’, nikoj ‘nobody’, sekoj ‘everybody’, which are referred to as [+masculine] pronouns, relate to human beings of both genders and have counterparts that relate only to human beings of feminine gender. Moreover, the masculine plural forms of agentive nouns refer to both males and females, whereas their feminine plural counterparts refer only to females. Thus, the noun studentite in (1a) refers to male and female students, whereas the noun studentkite in (1b) refers only to female students:3 (1) a. Studentite baraat ušte edna ispitna students+the.Pl ask-for.3Pl more one.F.Sg exam.Adj.F.Sg sesija. period ‘The students ask for another exam period.’ b. Studentkite baraat ušte edna ispitna students.F+the.Pl ask-for.3Pl more one.F.Sg exam.Adj.F.Sg sesija. period ‘The female students ask for another exam period.’ 3 Though, if the nouns studentite and studentkite are juxtaposed, as in (i), studentite refers only to male students: (i) Studentite se dojdeni, a studentkite ne se. students+the.Pl be.3Pl come.Pl.Pass.Part but students.F+the.Pl not be.3Sg ‘The male students have come, but the female students have not.’ AGREEMENT CATEGORIES 105 2.1.2. Friedman (2003: 192) argues that Macedonian can be described as having virile or animate gender distinctions. His...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780893578855
Related ISBN
9780893573850
MARC Record
OCLC
794925911
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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