LINGUIST List 3.815

Sat 24 Oct 1992

Disc: The Study of Gender?

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  1. Vicki Fromkin, Re: 3.807 Announcements: LSA Taskforce; Chicago Dissertations

Message 1: Re: 3.807 Announcements: LSA Taskforce; Chicago Dissertations

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 92 10:23 PDT
From: Vicki Fromkin <IYO1VAFMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.807 Announcements: LSA Taskforce; Chicago Dissertations

I was rather surprised to hear that "one of the missions of the LSA's
Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics is to foster the study
of language and gender." While this is certainly an acceptable goal,
it was not the basis of the establishment of the committee, which,
was concerned with ensuring a lack of discirimination against women in
the profession, increasing the number of women linguists, investigating
charges of discrimination etc. While I believe that the study of language
and gender is a legitimate topic to study, it should not have a special
status (which an award for a best paper on the topic would give it) any
more than the study of innate principles, bilingualism, linguistic
explanation for aphasia or any of the other issues of interest toO

Let me add that I do not believe that such awards should be given anyway.
The history of medals and awards of all kinds, including the Nobel prizes
is very unimpressive. It leads to terrible competitiveness, fraud,
non-science considerations, political fighting and more. Just look at
the newest Nobel Prize in Economics. Gary S. Becker is an economist who
uses equations and 'theory' to show that women are not discriminated
even if they receive lower wages than men. In the LA Times of Oct 21,
there is an article pointing out that according to this Nobel laureate,
"women choose jobs voluntarily that pay less than those of their male
counterparts, and that their time is less valuable than their husbands,

But that's not really the point -- I am just fuming at this latest attack
on women which is being exhalted as not only science but the best of science.
What I am really concerned with is that the LSA does not start a system of
medals and awards for the best paper by students or faculty or for anything
else. Let's do the work we want to do because we are concerned with
understanding the nature of human language, male and female, in all its
manifestations and glory. Vicki Fromkin
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