The present corpus study analyzes 5,016 contextualized DPs drawn from 34 current newspaper and magazine articles to test the so-far unsubstantiated claim that the input provides abundant and clear evidence of the grammatical gender of French nouns. Findings show that 49.76% of noun tokens are not gender-marked; 9.01% of nouns lack a gender-marked determiner, but are modified by a gender-marked adjective; while 41.22% of nouns have a gender-marked determiner. Detailed qualitative and quantitative analyses provide a descriptive and explanatory account of gender-marked contexts and second language learnability implications are discussed. The lack of readily available word-external clues explains why the acquisition of French grammatical gender is notoriously difficult (e.g., Ayoun 2007).
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 18 August 2010