Skip to main content Accessibility help

Let's Agree to Disagree. (Variation in) the Assignment of Gender to Nominal Anglicisms in Dutch

  • Karlien Franco (a1), Eline Zenner (a1) and Dirk Speelman (a1)


In this paper, we investigate gender assignment to recently borrowed English loanwords in Dutch, introducing several innovations to the field of gender assignment to anglicisms. For example, we use multiple mixed-effects logistic regression to determine which factors underlie gender assignment in Dutch. This model indicates that there is variation in the degree of homogeneity in the speech community (that is, agreement among respondents) concerning the gender assigned to an anglicism; therefore, we analyze the contexts in which homogeneity is the lowest. Our analysis reveals that the degree of consensus does not solely depend on how established an anglicism is. In contrast to what has been argued in previous studies, gender assignment to anglicisms in Dutch is not a categorical process: Gender variation increases when respondents are faced with a conflict between the default article de and some factor that favors its neuter counterpart, het. *


Corresponding author

QLVL, KU Leuven, Department of Linguistics, Blijde-Inkomststraat 21, PO box 3308, 3000 Leuven, Belgium, [], [], []


Hide All
Audring, Jenny. 2009. Reinventing pronoun gender. Utrecht: LOT.
Baayen, Harald R. 2008. Analyzing linguistic data. A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berteloot, Armand, & Van der Sijs, Nicoline. 2003. Dutch. English in Europe, ed. by Görlach, Manfred, 3756. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Biber, Douglas, Johansson, Stig, Leech, Geoffrey, Conrad, Susan, & Finegan, Edward. 1999. Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Budzhak-Jones, Svitlana. 1997. Quantitative analysis of gender assignment in mono/bilingual discourse. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 4. 6791.
Callies, Marcus, Onysko, Alexander, & Ogiermann, Eva. 2012. Investigating gender variation of English loanwords in German. The anglicization of European lexis, ed. by Furiassi, Cristiano, Virginia Pulcini, & Félix Rodríguez González, 65–89. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Chirsheva, Galina. 2009. Gender in Russian-English code-switching. International Journal of Bilingualism 13. 6390.
Clyne, Michael. 1992. Pluricentric languages: Differing norms in different nations. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Corbett, Greville G. 1991. Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Corbett, Greville G. 2014. Gender typology. The expression of gender, ed. by Corbett, Greville G., 87130. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Cruz Cabanillas, Isabel de la, Martínez, Cristina Tejedor, Prados, Mercedes Díez, & Redondo, Esperanza Cerdá. 2007. English loanwords in Spanish computer language. English for Specific Purposes 26. 5278.
Faraway, Julian J. 2006. Extending the linear model with R. Generalized linear, mixed effects and nonparametric regression models. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall.
Geerts, Guido. 1970. De nominale klassifikatie van ontleningen. De Nieuwe Taalgids 63. 4353.
Geerts, Guido. 1996. De genusbepalende eigenschappen van Engelse leenwoorden in het Nederlands. Verslagen en Mededelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde 106. 137146.
Haeringen, Coenraad B. Van. 1951. Genusverandering bij stofnamen. De Nieuwe Taalgids 44. 714.
Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, De Rooij, Jaap, & Van Den Toorn, Maarten C.. 1997. Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst. Groningen: Martinus Nijhoff uitgevers.
Hamans, Camiel. 2009. Het geslacht van leenwoorden. Die tand van die tyd. Opstelle opgedra aan Jac Conradie, ed. by Burger, Willie & Pienaar, Marné, 2425. Stellenbosch: Sun Media.
Haugen, Einar. 1969. The Norwegian language in America: A study in bilingual behavior. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Hock, Hans H., & Joseph, Brian D.. 1996. Language history, language change, and language relationship: An introduction to historical and comparative linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Koenen, Liesbeth, & Smits, Rik. 1992. Peptalk. De Engelse woordenschat van het Nederlands. Amsterdam: Nijgh & Van Ditmar.
Kraaikamp, Margot. 2012. The semantics of the Dutch gender System. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 24. 193232.
Muysken, Pieter. 2000. Bilingual speech: A typology of code-mixing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Onysko, Alexander. 2007. Anglicisms in German: Borrowing, lexical productivity, and written codeswitching. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Onysko, Alexander, Callies, Marcus, & Ogiermann, Eva. 2013. Gender variation of anglicisms in German: The influence of cognitive factors and regional varieties. Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 49. 103136.
Poplack, Shana, Pousada, Alicia, & Sankoff, David. 1982. Competing influences on gender assignment: Variable process, stable outcome. Lingua 57. 128.
Posthumus, Jan. 1996. Het woordgeslacht van Engelse leenwoorden. Onze Taal 65. 279.
Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey, & Svartvik, Jan. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. New York, NY: Longman.
Rothe, Astrid. 2014. On the variation of gender in nominal language mixings. New perspectives on lexical borrowing: Onomasiological, methodological and phraseological innovations, ed. by Zenner, Eline & Kristiansen, Gitte, 191223. Boston, MA: Mouton De Gruyter.
Schenck, Alfons. 1985. Genusbepalende eigenschappen van Engelse leenwoorden in het Nederlands. Leuven, Belgium: KU Leuven MA thesis.
Smead, Robert N. 2000. On the assignment of gender to Chicano Anglicisms: Processes and results. The Bilingual Review 23. 277297.
Thornton, Anna M. 2009. Constraining gender assignment rules. Language Sciences 31. 1432.
Verhoeven, Gerard, & Jansen, Frank. 1996. Het woordgeslacht van Engelse leenwoorden. Onze Taal 65. 156157.
Violin-Wigent, Anne. 2006. Gender assignment to nouns codeswitched into French: Observations and explanations. International Journal of Bilingualism 10. 253276.
Vogelaer, Gunther de, & De Sutter, Gert. 2011. The geography of gender change: Pronominal and adnominal gender in Flemish dialects of Dutch. Language Sciences 33. 192205.
Weinreich, Uriel. 1968. Languages in contact: Findings and problems. The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.
Zenner, Eline. 2013. Cognitive contact linguistics. The macro, meso and micro influence of English on Dutch. Leuven, Belgium: KU Leuven dissertation.
Zenner, Eline, Speelman, Dirk, & Geeraerts, Dirk. 2012. Cognitive sociolinguistics meets loanword research: Measuring variation in the success of anglicisms in Dutch. Cognitive Linguistics 23. 749792.
Zenner, Eline, Speelman, Dirk, & Geeraerts, Dirk. 2014. Core vocabulary, borrowability and entrenchment: A usage-based onomasiological approach. Diachronica 31. 74105.
Boon, Ton Den, & Geeraerts, Dirk. 2008. Van Dale Groot Woordenboek van de Nederlandse Taal. Utrecht: Van Dale Lexicografie. 14th edition.
Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek [Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics]. 2010. Standaard Beroepenclassificatie [Standard Classification of Professions]. Available at–isco-en-sbc–, accessed on 2 April, 2015.
Het Groene Boekje. Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal. 2005. Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie & Nederlandse Taalunie. Utrecht: Van Dale. Available at, accessed on 2 April, 2015.
Oxford English Dictionary. 2013. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at, accessed on 2 April, 2015.
R: A language and environment for statistical computing. 2013. R Development Core Team. Vienna, Austria. Available at, accessed on 20 October, 2016.
Van Dale Groot woordenboek Engels-Nederlands. 2006. Utrecht: Van Dale Lexicografie.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed