Gender Bias in the English Language Essay examples

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Several studies have been investigating the differences between men and women's use of the English language. The problem with studies of this kind, according to Romaine (1999), is that the differences are taken for truths and no further investigations are made as to why these differences exist. The differences could be a reflection on gender issues in society, or even the cause of them. There is seemingly little argument against the fact that English is male-biased as a construction. When investigating male bias in the English language, a few factors should be taken into consideration: words that are in themselves discriminating, that women are not as visible in the language as men, the connotations of each word that reflects on gender …show more content…
The word gentleman is somewhat static, referring now to a polite and educated man. Words can have different connotations when used in regards to women and men as well. The word professional has positive connotations in regards to men, but a professional woman in traditional English is another way of describing a prostitute. Safire, as cited in Romaine (pp. 292, 1999) claims that “as sexual equality is achieved, the need to stretch syntax will let up.” There is a strive to keep English pure amongst linguists, according to Miller and Swift (1988). However, this resistance towards words active reformation leads to discrimination. The refusal to agree to a semantic change is also counterproductive as Miller and Swift states: ”The point is not that we should recognize semantic change, but that in order to be precise, in order to be understood, we must” (pp. 8, 1988). Another issue regarding male-bias is that women are not visible in the language, according to Romaine (pp. 311, 1999), as she states “one of the sometimes more subtle forms of discrimination against women is that they are not mentioned at all.”. This is the case in the use of man as a generic term. The use of the word man, in titles such as fireman or policeman are by non-reformists regarded as justified, according to DeFrancis (pp. 298-299, 1994), as most people who occupy that title are in fact men. When it comes to expressions such as 'every man for himself', they

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