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Gender, Language and the Periphery

Grammatical and social gender from the margins

Gender, Language and the Periphery by Julie Abbou
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Using a historical sociolinguistic theoretical approach (Conde-Silvestre andHernandez-Campoy 2012, 1), this paper shows that a mid-19th century CatholicOld Testament utilizes the second-person singular pronoun for a femaleaddressee (noka) to construct sexual and/or violent imagery, which contributed tonoka’s loss and “semantic derogation” (Schulz 1975) over time. Focus is placed onnoka for several reasons: (1) it is the only place in the Basque language (Euskera)where female gender is marked, as Euskera has no natural or grammatical gender;(2) my previous ethnographic and archival research suggests that the use of nokais considered disrespectful, “looked badly upon” and associated with “dangerous”women like witches; (3) my previous research on Catholic texts in particularshows that familiar pronouns are used sparingly, and almost always to condemn,castigate or cast out demons; (4) noka has historically been a key marker ofsolidarity, konfiantza (‘trust’) and ‘authentic’ Basque identity; but the negative castupon noka, I suggest, discourages its use for such solidarity-building purposes.
John Benjamins Publishing Company; December 2016
419 pages; ISBN 9789027266835
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Title: Gender, Language and the Periphery
Author: Julie Abbou; Fabienne H. Baider