Edited by Jorrig Vogels and Sterre Leufkens
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 39] 2022
► pp. 143–157
In French, the noun apple (la pomme) is grammatically feminine, in German (der Apfel) it is masculine. Does this entail that French speakers perceive apples to be feminine whereas German speakers attribute masculine characteristics to them? Various studies suggest that grammatical gender does indeed influence object perception (Haertlé 2017; Boroditsky & Schmidt 2000), although findings are not always replicated (Bender et al. 2011). The current study investigates this phenomenon for Polish, an understudied language in this domain, and German, a language for which contradictory results have been obtained. We investigated whether Polish (N = 21) and German (N = 27) speakers follow the grammatical gender of an object when providing a first name for it (e.g. James or Maya). Results suggest that while Polish speakers provided names that were in accordance with the object’s grammatical gender, German speakers did not. Cross-linguistic differences between these two languages (regarding noun transparency) may explain these findings.
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