The second language acquisition of grammatical gender and number in Italian

Dalila Ayoun, Stefano Maranzana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional empirical study tested the ability of Anglophone L2 learners of Italian (n = 87) to assign grammatical gender and number to a subset of isolated nouns drawn from a written corpus of current magazine and newspaper articles. Italian native speakers served as controls (n = 109). We first present a descriptive account of grammatical gender that outlines several idiosyncrasies and complexities than may lead to difficulties for L2 learners, particularly English native speakers, from a Feature Reassembly approach and a Minimalist perspective. We then discuss L2 learnability implications in light of the results of a written, computerized gender assignment task (GAT) showing significant effects for gender and number, ambiguous vs. transparent nouns, but not for suffixed vs non-suffixed nouns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Acquisition of Gender. Crosslinguistic perspectives
EditorsDalila Ayoun
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9789027258397
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in Bilingualism
ISSN (Print)0928-1533


  • Anglophone instructed learners
  • Formal features
  • Grammatical gender
  • Italian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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