TITLE

THE EXTINCTION OF MASCULINE GENERICS

AUTHOR(S)
Earp, Brian D.
PUB. DATE
June 2012
SOURCE
Journal for Communication & Culture;Jun2012, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p4
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In English, as in many other languages, male-gendered pronouns are sometimes used to refer not only to men, but to individuals whose gender is unknown or unspecified, to human beings in general (as in "mankind") and sometimes even to females (as when the casual "Hey guys" is spoken to a group of women). These so-called he/man or masculine generics have come under fire in recent decades for being sexist, even archaic, and positively harmful to women and girls; and advocates of gender-neutral (or nonsexist) language have put forward serious efforts to discourage their use. Have they been successful, and to what extent? In this paper, I review some of the main arguments in favor of abolishing sexist male generics. I then present three studies tracking the use of he/man terminology in academic, popular, and personal discourse over the past several decades. I show that the use of these terms has fallen dramatically in recent years, while nonsexist alternatives have gradually taken their place. We may be paying witness to the early stages of the ultimate extinction of masculine generics.
ACCESSION #
76258750

 

Related Articles

  • Singular They: The Pronoun That Came in from the Cold. Altieri, Joan Taber // Vocabula Review;Aug2006, Vol. 8 Issue 8, p1 

    The article discusses the battle for nonsexist language in English. The author mentions that one of the problems is created by the fact that English does not have a grammatically acceptable gender-free third-person singular pronoun to reference a person. He contends that the singular "they"...

  • Gender-Bias in Textbooks in India. VERIKAITÄ–, Daiva // Man & the Word / Zmogus ir zodis;2012, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p63 

    The article presents the results of analysis of gender-bias in textbooks in India. The analysis aimed at examining the content of the English language textbooks circulated in India with respect to gender-biased or sexist use of language and to determine if the problem exists. Four textbooks of...

  • Alternating Between Masculine and Feminine Pronouns: Does Essay Topic Affect Readers' Perceptions? Madson, Laura; Shoda, Jennifer // Sex Roles;Feb2006, Vol. 54 Issue 3/4, p275 

    Authors are routinely advised to avoid using masculine pronouns to refer to both men and women. Some style guides recommend alternating between masculine and feminine pronouns instead. Unfortunately, previous research with gender-neutral text indicates that readers perceive alternating pronouns...

  • Does Alternating Between Masculine and Feminine Pronouns Eliminate Perceived Gender Bias in Text? Madson, Laura; Hessling, Robert M. // Sex Roles;Oct99, Vol. 41 Issue 7/8, p559 

    Focuses on a study which examined whether alternating the pronouns `he' and `she' in a text is an effective way to avoid sexist language. Profiles of the participants; Design and hypotheses of the study; Methodology; Results; Discussion.

  • Acceptability of Sexist Language among Young People in Hong Kong. Lee, Jackie // Sex Roles;Mar2007, Vol. 56 Issue 5-6, p285 

    The purpose of the present study was to provide information on the acceptability of some selected gender-exclusive and inclusive usages and lexis in Hong Kong English. They include the selection of generic he or gender-neutral pronouns anaphoric to indefinite pronouns (e.g., everybody, someone)...

  • "To each reader his, their or her pronoun". Prescribed, pro- scribed and disregarded uses of generic pronouns in English. Adami, Elisabetta // Language & Computers;2009, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p281 

    After a brief review of the existing literature, this paper investigates the use of generic pronouns in the academic written sections of several corpora of English, namely, (a) the so-called Brown Family' of the ICAME collection, (b) six components of the International Corpus of English, (c) the...

  • Sexist and Non-Sexist Language. Burlacu, Diana-Viorela // International Journal on Humanistic Ideology;2011, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p81 

    The present article focuses on some lexical aspects of the English language claimed to be sexist, namely on the so-called "generic" nouns and pronouns, some man-compounds denoting occupations, derivations from "male" words, derogatory meanings for "female" words, as well as on the lexical order...

  • GHAH EXPRESSIONS. Lewsen, Simon // Walrus;Sep2011, Vol. 8 Issue 7, p16 

    The article focuses on the debate over gender-neutral English pronouns which goes beyond linguistic shorthand in using the language.

  • Writing clinic. LaRocque, Paula // Quill;Jun98, Vol. 86 Issue 5, p43 

    Focuses on the most common grammatical problems caused by the use of pronouns. Examples of using subjective and objective pronouns; Demonstrates how pronouns differ depending upon the subjects or objects used in a sentence.

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of VIRGINIA BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY AND SYSTEM

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics