Grammatical Categories and Cognition across Five Languages: The Case of Grammatical Gender and its Potential Effects on the Conceptualisation of Objects

Roland Viktor Landor, Andrea Schalley, University, My
The aim of this study was to investigate the potential relationship between grammatical categories and cognition by examining whether grammatical gender affects the conceptualisation of objects. Though several studies have set out to investigate the potential relationship between grammatical gender and cognition, the results to date seem inconclusive and somewhat contradictory. It seems of particular interest to undertake further studies in the area, and one of the aims of this project is to
more » ... is project is to establish the groundwork for targeted research into the key issues surrounding the potential relationship between grammatical gender and the gender-related conceptualisation of objects. In order to address the research question guiding this investigation, a three-phase experiment was designed to uncover and represent any potential differences and/or similarities in the ways in which the speakers of five different languages, with differing grammatical gender systems, conceptualise objects. The five selected languages represent three language families: Indo-European (Germanic and Romance), Uralic-Altaic (Finno-Ugric) and Afro-Asiatic (Semitic). These languages provide the most comprehensive coverage to date of a gender loading scale that classifies languages according to the extent to which they oblige their speakers to be mindful of gender. Comparison of the possible effects of a grammatical category, such as grammatical gender, in these five languages was expected to unveil how linguistic categories may interact with cognition.
doi:10.25904/1912/1897 fatcat:72of4tdgifc75ota25g7r7gueq