How Do We Understand the Category of Gender? When is a Czech woman (Češka) a Czech man (Čech)?  Cover Image
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Jak rozumíme kategorii gramatického rodu? Kdy je Češka Čech?
How Do We Understand the Category of Gender? When is a Czech woman (Češka) a Czech man (Čech)?

Author(s): Světla Čmejrková
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Slovanský ústav Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i. and Euroslavica

Summary/Abstract: We are born into a linguistic community whose language we learn as infants, inheriting the categories it uses and perceiving the distinctions it makes. Should speakers of Slavic languages rely on their native linguistic competence and learned discursive practices? Should they reconsider the interpretation that masculine forms are unmarked? The present paper focuses on Czech and discusses the marked (male) and unmarked (generic) reading of masculine forms in various contexts. It shows that new discourse practices may shift masculine forms from the gender-indefinite to the gender-definite pole of interpretation: in some contexts, it appears that masculine forms are interpreted in a more gender-specific meaning than their unmarked, inclusive meaning would predict. This paper aims to explain why the potential change in linguistic awareness is worthy of theoretical attention.

  • Issue Year: LXXVII/2008
  • Issue No: 1+3
  • Page Range: 41-54
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Czech