Date of Award
Master of Arts
This thesis uses an experimental approach to explore optimal gender assignment theory, an approach to gender assignment housed in Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004). Optimal gender assignment theory was proposed by Curt Rice (2006) and stipulates that grammatical gender is assigned based on a set of crucially non-ranked gender features constraints and markedness constraints. Thirty-seven participants who were bilingual in English and German received 40 sentences containing English loanwords with the definite article removed and asked to provide the appropriate gender marker and a lexical equivalency. The study found that the constraints employed and developed for optimal gender assignment theory are not applicable to English loanwords in German.
This thesis is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.