Article published in:Gender, Language and the Periphery: Grammatical and social gender from the margins
Edited by Julie Abbou and Fabienne H. Baider
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 264] 2016
► pp. 353–380
Harlots and whores but not lovers
Dressing down the pronoun for a female addressee in a Basque Old Testament
Using a historical sociolinguistic theoretical approach (Conde-Silvestre and Hernandez-Campoy 2012, 1), this paper shows that a mid-19th century Catholic Old Testament utilizes the second-person singular pronoun for a female addressee (noka) to construct sexual and/or violent imagery, which contributed to noka’s loss and “semantic derogation” (Schulz 1975) over time. Focus is placed on noka 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 noka is considered disrespectful, “looked badly upon” and associated with “dangerous” women like witches; (3) my previous research on Catholic texts in particular shows that familiar pronouns are used sparingly, and almost always to condemn, castigate or cast out demons; (4) noka has historically been a key marker of solidarity, konfiantza (‘trust’) and ‘authentic’ Basque identity; but the negative cast upon noka, I suggest, discourages its use for such solidarity-building purposes.
Keywords: Basque, gender, historical sociolinguistics, pronouns, religion
Published online: 16 December 2016
Auer, Anita, and Anja Voeste
Conde-Silvestre, J. Camilo, and Juan M. Hernandez-Campoy
Duvoisin, Jean Baptiste
2006 “Indexing Religious Identity in the French Basque Country: Toward a Theory of Pronominal Shift.” In Studies in Basque and Historical Linguistics in Memory of R.L. Trask, ed. by Joseba Lakarra, and Jose Ignacio Hualde, 273–291. Donostia; Bilbo: Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia and Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea.
Esteban, Mari Luz, and Mila Amurrio
Fox, Michael V.
March, W. Eugene
Overholt, Thomas W.
Satrustegui, Jose Mari
Sheppard, Gerald T.
Uriarte, Jose Antonio