ERIC Number: ED168369
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Sociolinguistic Change Towards Nonsexist Language: An Overview and Analysis of Misunderstandings and Misapplications.
Blaubergs, Maija S.
The first section of this paper focuses on misunderstandings surrounding two of the proposals for changing sexist aspects of the English language, namely, avoiding the use of masculine pronouns (he, his, him, himself) with alleged sex-indefinite reference, and replacing the word and morpheme "man" with "person" in sex-indefinite usage. Several arguments against adopting these and other changes aimed at reducing sexism in language are discussed and examples of them are provided. It is noted that the content and tone of the arguments against change have remained essentially the same from 1972 to 1978. In a second section of the paper, a number of misapplications of the proposals for changing sexist language are discussed in detail: (1) overextensions that violate morpheme structure; (2) violations of parallelism in reference to the sexes; and (3) partial changes that retain sex-stereotyping and the coining of words to ridicule other coinages. Data are presented on the misuse of "Ms." and on male-first word order (e.g., he and she; men and women). It is concluded that despite the misunderstandings and misapplications there is a strong awareness of changes toward nonsexist language in American society as represented in newspapers, magazines, and scholarly newsletters. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Congress of Sociology (9th, Uppsala, Sweden, August 14-19, 1978).