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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2019, Vol. 50, No. 4, Pages 723-750
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00329)
© 2019 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gender at the Edge
Article PDF (176.61 KB)
This article develops an analysis of Gender whereby D-gender enters grammar as a feature variable (edge linker), without a fixed value, either probing n or scanning the context for a value. Only the latter strategy is available in pronominal gender languages such as English, as they lack n-gender, whereas both strategies are applicable in n-gender languages, variably so for variable DPs, depending on their nP content and on context. The article adopts the idea that context linking does not merely involve pragmatic context scanning but also has a syntactic side to it, edge computation, whereby context-scanned and recycled features are computed at the phase edge in relation to CP-internal elements, via edge linkers. The context-linking approach has been previously launched for Tense and Person. This article extends it to Gender, thereby generalizing over context-sensitive grammatical categories and developing a novel view of the overall architecture of grammar.