Noun Gender in Romanian, a Lexical-Semantic Category

Noun Gender in Romanian, a Lexical-Semantic Category| Diana-Maria ROMAN

Abstract: The aim of our research is to prove the fact that the gender of Romanian nouns cannot and should not be considered a grammatical category, but a lexical-semantic category, since this part of speech has gender even at a lexical level, a category that also ascends to the immediately superior level: the grammatical one. In contemporary grammar treatises, numerous linguists argue that gender belongs to the axis of grammatical categories that are specific to the Romanian noun, along with number, case and determination. At the same time, it is not a novelty that the gender of nouns, at the level of this entire class in the Romanian language, even where the phenomenon of gender suffixation is involved, does not represent a flectional criterion for this lexical-grammatical class, which does not have distinct opposable forms that mark out the class in question, unlike in the case of pronouns, adjectives or numerals. The actualization of the gender category in nouns, compared to its materialization in the other parts of speech that feature it and in which its status is undoubtedly that of a grammar category, should be discussed in entirely different terms. The grammaticalization of gender that has three components – masculine, feminine and neuter – in the other parts of speech from the nominal group confirms the existence of this category in nouns, but does not entail its grammaticalization in this lexical-grammatical class. Asserting that the gender of nouns is a fixed, given category pertains to the semantics of the part of speech in question. The oppositions between the category members are achieved between different lexemes, hence, outside the flective, and not between different flectional units and/or subunits.

Keywords: grammatical category; lexical-semantic category; motion; grammatical level.
DOI: 10.18662/lumenphs.2016.0401.02

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