Gender and Language Reform
Throughout this quarter we have been discussing how the dominant
gender discourse is embedded in language. Through the years,
people have sought ways to change language to eliminate some of the
basic grammatical and lexical items that disadvantage women. We will
conclude the quarter by discussing issues of sexism in language and
language reform. Is language reform called for? Is it possible?
Question of the week: Does sexism embedded language affect how people
perceive gender? Discuss this in light of all three readings.
Ann. 1975. Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: Singular
sex-indefinite 'he,' and 'he or she'. Language in Society, 4.129-46.
And while you're reading
Susan and King, Ruth. 1994. Feminist meanings and the
(de)politicization of the lexicon. Language in society, 23.59-76.
Check out this news story: the French are getting rid of Mademoiselle.
Edward and Boroditsky, Lera. 2011. Grammar in art. Frontiers in
cultural psychology, 1.244.
Hall, Kira and O'Donovan, Veronica. 1997. Shifting gender
positions among Hindi-speaking Hijras. Language and gender
research: Theory and method, ed. by Victoria Bergvall, Janet Bing
and Alice Freed, 228-66. London: Longman.