Role nouns in appositional contexts in German and Belgian/Netherlandic) Dutch: a corpus study
This paper presents the results of a corpus study on role nouns in appositional contexts after als ‘as’ in German and Belgian/ Netherlandic Dutch, whereby the referent is a female person. For German, the ZEIT-corpus provided by the Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (DWdS) is used, for Dutch the Corpus Hedendaags Nederlands. In German, feminine role nouns are found to clearly prevail in this particular environment (cf. ihr Beruf als Ärztin ‘her job as a doctor.FEM’). For Dutch, however, non-gendered forms are generally the most frequent ones (cf. haar werk als arts ‘her job as a doctor’), with Netherlandic Dutch having a significantly stronger preference for non-gendered forms than Belgian Dutch. In Belgian Dutch, feminine role nouns, especially ones ending in the suffixes -ster, -e and -(t)rice, occur more frequently. These suffixes are typically used to either feminize role nouns the non-gendered counterparts of which denote prestige jobs (e.g. advocaat ‘lawyer’, hoofdaanklager ‘main prosecutor’) or roles that are not socially female gendered (e.g. pleitbezorger ‘advocate’, alcoholist ‘alcoholic’). In both cases, Netherlandic Dutch prefers non-gendered role nouns. It is argued that the reason for this difference between Belgian and Netherlandic Dutch lies in the fact that the original three-way gender system – with a clear formal opposition between masculine and feminine gender – is still more robust in Belgian Dutch than in Netherlandic Dutch. This could explain why feminine forms are more often selected for reference to female persons in Belgian Dutch, whereas non-gendered role nouns are more often avoided, as they are perceived as still having masculine gender and as such refer to male persons.
Source (journal)
Leuvense bijdragen / Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Instituut voor Dialectologie. - Antwerpen, 1896, currens
Antwerpen : De Nederlandsche Boekhandel , 2023
0024-1482 [print]
1783-1598 [online]
104 (2023) , p. 1-31
Full text (open access)
The author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version Available from 06.03.2025
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Creation 04.03.2024
Last edited 07.03.2024
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