ERIC Number: ED226393
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Sexist Language: Terministic Screens and Transcendence.
Keough, Colleen M.
The most appropriate vehicle for examining the role of language in producing sex role stereotypes and sexism is Kenneth Burke's concept of the terministic screen, a definition of reality that directs the attention of the audience along a certain line of thought. Thus, once a linguistic term is accepted as reflecting reality, the term influences the selection and deflection of future observations. Burke's theory of dialectics provides a corollary to this discussion, treating ideas and action as paired or polar terms that can be viewed as being discontinuous, separated by different interpretations of a sitatuion. Transcendence allows discontinuous terms to be synthesized by a common term that dissolves the discontinuity into a new unity. The melding of both these concepts provides the rhetorical underpinnings for a theory of how language can affect behavior and attitudes viewed from this perspective: sexist language causes sexism by acting as a discontinuous, terministic screen. The problems caused by sexist language can be transcended by a nonsexist language. Unfortunately, such a rhetorical analysis will remain only theoretical until there is a greater adoption of nonsexist terms as the accepted form of American English. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Burke (Kenneth); Rhetorical Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Communication, Language, and Gender Conference (5th, Athens, OH, October 15-16, 1982).