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The number of genders in Polish

By Greville G. Corbett


In a recent article, Wertz (1977) reviews the question of the number of genders in Polish. He considers previous answers to the question: three genders (Klemensiewicz 1965: 51), five (Mańczak 1956), six (Brooks and Nalibow (1970: 137) and himself proposes seven as the correct solution. It is interesting that an apparently straightforward question should be open to debate, and that there should be such a variety of answers. Naturally, different assumptions as to the nature of gender may produce different analyses; however, as gender is reflected in syntax at a superficial level it is relatively easy to test the adequacy of an analysis. I intend to show that even if we accept Wertz's assumptions, his seven-gender system is unable to handle the surface facts of agreement in Polish. More generally, the split between gender in the singular and gender in the plural, which Wertz and other scholars propose, is untenable

Publisher: School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University
Year: 1983
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