Gendered addressing in Polish: How does a mismatch between addressee gender and the gender marking on second person verbs affect processing?
In Polish, feminine or masculine gender marking is required on second person singular verbs in the past tense. The gender marking usually matches addressee gender, but in cases where the addressee can be of any gender, the masculine marking may be used with a gender-inclusive intention. This thesis reports on a self-paced reading experiment which tested how Polish speakers process being addressed using verbs with gender marking mismatching their own gender. The reading times of those verbs were compared with that of gerund verbs, which have no gender marking. It was hypothesised that the gender-mismatching verbs would be more difficult to process, especially for men, since Polish does not allow feminine marking to be used when addressing men. This hypothesis was not borne out. Instead, an advantage of gender-matching verbs was found. Further research is needed to understand this finding, but possibilities that it reflects the hypothesised process are explored.
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