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ERIC Number: ED162303
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Sexist Tradition: Words and Meaning.
Stanley, Julia Penelope
Because of the built-in stereotyping and derogation of women that exists in the English language, the classroom teacher must face the task of finding practical answers to three popular attacks against research on sexism in English: language is a rather minor and irrelevant issue; there is no need to change language from the way it has always been; and words have meaning only in context or usage, so sexism is not in language but rather in people. In response to the first attack, research reveals that far from being trivial, language is the vehicle that expresses attitudes and influences thinking. When sexist attitudes structure English, male power is reinforced and women are repressed. Likewise, a historical perspective reveals that language changes constantly and, more significantly, the use of male-specific pronouns as the pronoun of reference for both sexes occurred deliberately as an act of the British Parliament in 1850. Although the third attack, placing the meaning of words according to the speaker's intention, is impossible to measure accurately, numerous words in the English language illustrate that masculine words or forms are positive in meaning or connotation, while feminine words and phrases indicate weakness or negative implications. (MAI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (67th, New York City, November 24-26, 1977)