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A long-established tenet of Indo-European linguistics says that grammatical gender systems all along the history of this language phylum were maximally tripartite and generally tended toward a reduction of gender contrasts. In this article, we shall show that this widely-held idea overlooks the existence of four-gender systems in a substantial part of the Romance language family, a fact that has in turn gone unnoticed so far. We shall provide an analysis of the relevant Romance data, a sketchydoi:10.1515/flin.2011.015 fatcat:y7vyz7vmefhhrdyfzfe3dcptee