, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 93–116 | Cite as

Gender assignment and gender agreement: Evidence from pronominal gender languages

  • Jenny AudringEmail author
Open Access
Original Paper


In research on grammatical gender, assignment and agreement are the two central notions. Genders are defined as systems of agreement classes, and the assignment of nouns to genders is reflected in the agreement they consistently trigger on associated elements. Yet, gender assignment and gender agreement are often discussed quite separately. This paper investigates the possibility that gender agreement is not only an overt manifestation of gender assignment, but that properties of agreement systems can themselves constrain the assignment systems they express. The paper discusses typological and diachronic evidence for the fact that not every type of assignment system can be expressed in every type of agreement system.


Gender Gender assignment Gender agreement Pronominal gender Typology Morphology Agreement Pronouns 



Many thanks to Geert Booij, Gunther de Vogelaer and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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