spring 2019

LIN-8009 Acquisition and processing of grammatical gender - 5 ECTS

Sist endret: 30.08.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Application deadline

PhD students at UiT apply for admission by registering for class (in the Studentweb) by February 1st.

Other applicants apply in Søknadsweb by February 1st for the spring semester. Application code 9305.

Type of course

The course can be taken as a single course by students who fulfil the requirements of the PhD-program.

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian Master´s Degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that they are registered PhD students.

Holders of a Master´s Degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list: http://www.nokut.no/Documents/NOKUT/Artikkelbibliotek/Utenlandsk_utdanning/GSUlista/2016/GSU_list_English_14112016.pdf

For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document: English Proficiency.

Course content

Since the pioneering work of Karmiloff-Smith (1979), formal criteria have been shown to play a dominant role in grammatical gender assignment in early child data. Young children have been found to make errors revealing that morphophonology often wins over semantics in cases where these factors make conflicting predictions. Addressing the acquisition of gender from a bilingual perspective, the quantity and quality of input has also been extensively discussed, in addition to questions of language dominance and age of onset. Various patterns of overgeneralization are also found in a range of different language pairs. In addition to discussing these topics, the course will also consider the processing of grammatical gender in both monolinguals and bilinguals, with an additional focus on asymmetries that may occur between processing and production. The following issues will be discussed: " Grammatical gender assignment in acquisition across several languages " Morphophonological vs. semantic cues " Acquisition of grammatical gender in monolinguals and bilinguals " The status of non-target forms and what they tell us about the development of the grammatical gender system " Processing of grammatical gender in first and second language and potential asymmetries between processing and production

Objectives of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes:


The student has:

  • Extensive knowledge about the acquisition and processing of gender in mono- and multilingual contexts.


The student is able to / can:

  • Analyze and evaluate data from gender studies.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

The course will consist of 6 lectures from Tuesday to Thursday, February 26-28, 2019. Each day will have two lectures, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The course will also be open for MA students to audit even though they can not take it for credit.


Coursework requirements

  • Do readings before and during the course as assigned by the instructors.
  • Attend all lectures
  • Submit one research question in writing to the instructor after each lecture.


The exam will consist of:

2000-word paper on a chosen topic  

The exam will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis.

Retake is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F or Fail. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is January 15 for autumn semester exams and August 15 for spring semester exams.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Reading list will be published in December.


Marit Westergaard

Professor engelsk språkvitenskap
Telefon: +4777644256 marit.westergaard@uit.no