ERIC Number: ED226392
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Gender! Who Needs It? A Classification and a Comment.
Gender is a structure of language and an attendant attribute for each noun and all of its immediate qualifiers, providing a set of categories into which the nouns of languages are divided. Through the phenomenon of concord, verbs, adjectives, and articles are made to agree with nouns in gender, person, number, and case. Gender classifies language into divisions of natural gender (masculine, feminine, common, and neuter); grammatical gender (masculine and feminine gender assigned to every noun); and genderless. Because of gender, one is confronted with the cumbersome use of "he or she." This awkward use of the third person singular has resulted in various campaigns to "neuter" the English language, leading, for example, to the indiscriminate use of "person" or the substitution of plural pronouns for masculine singulars. Perhaps a better solution would be the creation of a common-sex pronoun. When asked to make up a word that could be used as a common-sex pronoun, however, the faculty, staff, and students at one university responded with suggestions that were largely in the realm of nonsense. Almost nobody really cared. Gender occupies an eccentric place in the English language. Consequently, it is neither logical nor illogical. Rather, it may be alogical. (A copy of the survey instrument is appended.) (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Gender (Language)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Communication, Language, and Gender Conference (5th, Athens, OH, October 15-16, 1982).