Chapter X case syncretism in German feminines: Typological, functional and structural aspects

Modern Standard German does not have distinct forms for nominatives and accusatives in the feminine gender. This is not only unique within Germanic languages, but also quite remarkable from a typological and functional viewpoint, under the plausible assumption that feminine NPs do not differ in animacy from masculine NPs. I will discuss the loss of the N/A distinction for feminines in detail and speculate about possible reasons – among others, that the referents of feminines are not typically animate, that the syncretism was modelled after a similar syncretism in the plural, and that a sexist bias of the speech community in which the syncretism originated influenced a core part of the grammar of their language.
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