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Do 3SG pronouns refer to gender or to other properties of the antecedent?
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Third person subject and object pronouns are used to refer to persons or to non-persons such as things and propositions. The system of pronominal reference tends to be sensitive to the semantic properties of the antecedent, not to gender, though vestiges of sensibility to gender may be encountered, more in written than in spoken language. 3SG pronouns tend to be sensitive to countable objects, in the sense that those are usually referred to by means of the masculine pronoun.

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Pronominal coreference may disregard gender with countable objects. It is not uncommon in spoken language to refer to countable neuter objects with the help of a common pronoun, as shown in the example below:

Example 1

Wêr is myn potlead? Ik ha him net sjoen
where is my pencil.NG I have him.CG not seen
Where is my pencil? I have not seen it

In written language, gender is relevant when referring to a countable neuter object:

Example 2

Wêr is myn potlead? Ik ha it net sjoen
where is my pencil.NG I have it.NG not seen
Where is my pencil? I have not seen it

It is not possible to refer to mass nouns by means of the common pronoun, again regardless of their gender, and this holds for both written and spoken language. Mass nouns must obligatorily be referred to with the neuter pronoun, regardless of the gender of the antecedent:

Example 3

a. *Wat in troep! Hy stiet net moai
what a mess.CG he looks not nice
What a mess! It doesn't look nice
b. *Sjoch gebak! Hy is moai fersierd
look pastry.NG he is nicely dressed-up
Look, pastry! It has been nicely dressed up
c. Wat in troep! It stiet net moai
what a mess.CG it looks not nice
What a mess! It doesn't look nice
d. Sjoch gebak! It is moai fersierd
look pastry.NG it is nicely dressed-up
Look, pastry! It has been nicely dressed up
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