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ERIC Number: ED115114
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Nov-7
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Sexist Grammar.
Stanley, Julia P.
From the beginnings of English grammar in the early sixteenth century, our language has been described by men, and the usage promulgated as the "standard" has been that of men. Because men have been able to effectively control English through their control of the communications media and educational institutions, they have made our language an effective instrument in the continuing oppression of women and the perpetuation of sex-role stereotypes. The effects of male control of English are seen most clearly in the "gender classification system," which most grammarians have described as a system of "natural gender." In fact, however, our nouns are not classified on the basis of "natural" gender, except insofar as it has been defined by men. Aside from a very small number of animate nouns, e.g., "nurse,""secretary,""mother,""prostitute," every other human noun in English is inherently masculine, and carries the semantic feature + male as part of its lexical entry. Modern linguists have simply continued the tradition of male control of language, as evidenced both in their descriptions and in their illustrative examples in textbooks. Neither English nor its grammars have changed much in four centuries. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Southeast Conference on Linguistics (Atlanta, Georgia, November 1975)