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Neutral or not?: A study of gender (in)equality in the use of professional terms in English.
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Jenny Cheshire, current editor in chief of

Language in Society, stated that there is a bias of masculine terms and referents in the English language (1985, p. 22). This poses a problem, both linguistically and socially, and conscious language reforms need to be imposed in order for the bias to drastically be countered (1985, p. 22). In the past decades, gender-neutral terms, such as chairperson has been gaining ground in English, particularly in business discourse, and are contributing to create a more gender-neutral language. According to Cheshire (2008), media discourse is enormously influential (p.9) in the way we communicate, and this study investigates patterns in the use of chairperson and salesperson, as well as historically male professions priest and manager and female professions nurse and secretary. The data for this study is taken from the TIME Magazine Corpus. The results of this study show that masculine gender collocates appear commonly with the historically female professions and conversely for the historically male professions which appear more often with feminine collocates. Furthermore, through analysis of 1,000 instances of the terms in the corpus, it is noted that there are differences as to how the professions are connected with other words as well. Sexuality, nationality and physicality are ways in which the collocates of the terms differ. It is noted that, over time, there have been both increases and decreases in how gender collocates appear with the terms and that the frequency in usage of the feminine, masculine and gender-neutral terms have all been noted to vary in usage over the past century in the selected discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
language and gender, sociolinguistics, professional titles, corpus linguistics, collocate
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-27348OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-27348DiVA, id: diva2:1187852
Available from: 2018-03-06 Created: 2018-03-06

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf