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Toward a new conceptual framework for comparing gender systems and some so-called classifier systems

Haspelmath, Martin

This is the handout from a talk on nominal classification systems: gender systems, numeral classifier systems, and some other related systems that do not fall under either of these concepts. There is now a consensus that the traditional idea that "gender" is a coherent cross-linguistic concept cannot be maintained, and I argue that the discipline needs the new concept of "nomifier system" (or nomification system, short for "nominal classification system"), in terms of which the narrower concepts "gender system" and "numeral classifier system" can be defined.

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