LINGUIST List 4.336

Sat 01 May 1993

Sum: Language and gender

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  1. Johanna Rubba, Summary: Language and gender

Message 1: Summary: Language and gender

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 18:43:25 PDSummary: Language and gender
From: Johanna Rubba <rubbabend.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: Summary: Language and gender

What follows is a list of references that were sent to me by various
individuals on the subject of language and gender, especially the
problem of 'generic' or epicene pronouns. Many thanks to all who
responded -- the references were many and varied and look very interesting.
I'll be digging up many of them, and keeping them all in store for future

I apologize that the list isn't alphabetized and that some references
are not quite complete, but I think enough information is there for
an interested party to locate it through library catalogues.
There may be some repeats as well. Here and there I included a comment,
but edited out any personal information and all names of senders. I hope
this is satisfactory to those who responded.

Two people sent me a long list of actual proposals for epicene pronouns
through the ages. It's long, so I'm not including it here, but if anyone
wants it, please send me a note and I'll send it to you. I believe it
ran on Linguist last year, so many of you may already have it.

If anyone has further references to add, or information on ongoing
research (especially psycholinguistic research on how people interpret
supposedly epicene pronouns in contexts of various sorts), please
send me a note individually. I'll post another summary if I get
a lot of responses.

Once again many thanks to the colleagues who shared their
bibliographies and other tips with me!

Jo Rubba
UC Riverside/UC San Diego


Nunberg, Geoffrey. (title not known). In The state of the language, ed. by
Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks, UC Press 1990. A

Also by Nunberg:
usage note in the 3rd ed. of the American Heritage Dictionary

Frank, Francine Wattman and Paula A. Treichler. 1989. _Language,
 gender, and professional writing: Theoretical approaches
 and guidelines for nonsexist usage._ New York: MLA.

Hill, Alette Olin. 1986. _Mother tongue, father time: A decade
 of linguistic revolt_. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana
 University Press.

Baron, Dennis. 1986. _Grammar and gender_. New Haven and London:
 Yale University Press.

Cameron, Deborah. *FEMINISM AND LINGUISTIC THEORY* now out
in second edition.

Coates, Jennifer and Deborah Cameron, *WOMEN IN THEIR

Penelope, Julia, *SPEAKING FREELY*


Graddol, David and Joan Swann, *GENDER VOICES*

Mannheim, Bruce and Jane Hill: a summary of work on the generic masculine
in English, Annual Review of Anthropology (1992).
purpose: to place the issue in the context of a rereading of
the "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis," concentrating on the ways in which
the grammatical categories of a language lead its speakers to certain
ontological commitments.

Abbott, G. "Unisex 'they'" English Language Teaching Journal, 1984. Vol.38
 p. 45-48.

Bodine, A. "Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: Singular "they, sex-indefini
te 'he' and 'he or she'. Language in society, 1975. V.4, 129-146.

Miller, C. & Swift K. The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing (2nd edition).
 1988. NY: Harper & Row.

Newman, M. "Pronominal disagreements: The stubborn problem on singular epicene
 antecedents." Language in society. 1992. Vol.21, 447-475.

Sklar, E.S. "The Tribunal of use: Agreement in indefinite constructions."
 College Composition and Communication. 1988. Vol.39, 410-422.

Stanley, J..P. "Sexist Grammar" College English. 1978, v. 39, 800-811.

Green,W.H. "Singular pronouns and sexual politics." College Comp. & Comm.
 1977, v. 28, 150-153.

McConnell-Ginet, S. "Prototypes, pronouns and persons." Ethnolinguistics:
 Boas, Sapir & Whorf revisited. Ed. M. Mathiot. 1979. The Hauge:
 Mouton, pp. 63-83.

 One colleague writes:

One paper that is very effective, and good for discussion, is a
piece by Douglas Hofstadter called "A person paper on purity in
language". It originally appeared in his Metamagical Themas, and
is reprinted in Deborah Cameron (ed.) The Feminist Critique of
Language: a Reader (Routledge 1990). What Hofstadter does is
create an alternative universe in which it is race, rather than
gender, that is encoded into language ("white" is the generic
term for "person", etc.), and write an essay in the style of
william Safire patronizingly chiding those who accuse the
language of being racist. The result is very shocking-- in fact
it takes a while to figure out exactly what is going on, but when
it hits you it makes an impact. You do have to be careful to
point out to students that it's a satire, though-- I've had the
embarrassing experience of people taking it literally and being
offended by it.

Martyna, Wendy (1980) "The psychology of the generic masculine"
in Sally McConnell-Ginet et al.
Women and language in literature and society, pp. 69-78, New York: Praeger.

Miller, Casey and Swift, Kate 1976/1990 Words and women. NY: Harper and Collins

Hofstadter, Douglas R. 1985. "A person paper on purity in language," Chapter 8,
Metamagical Themas: Questing for the essence of mind and pattern, pp.
159-167. New York: Basic Books.

Bendix, E. (1979). (in J. Orasnu, M. Slater, L. Adler (eds.)
 _Language, Sex and Gender_

M. Crawford & L. English (1984). in _Jr. Psycholinguistic
 Research 13,373-381.

Davison, Alice, and Penelope Eckert, eds. 1990. _The Cornell Lectures
 on Women in the Linguistics Profession_. Washington: The Committee on
 the Status of Women in Linguistics of the Linguistic Society of America.

McConnell-Ginet, Sally, Ruth Borker, and Nelly Furman, eds. 1980. _Women
 and Language in Literature and Society_. New York: Praeger.

Philips, Susan U., Susan Steele, and Christine Tanz, eds. 1987. _Language,
 Gender and Sex in Comparative Perspective_. Studies in the Social and
 Cultural Foundations of Language 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

>From another respondent:

See "agreement: indefinite pronouns" on p. 51 of WEBSTER'S
There's also a very entertaining piece on the problem in
USAGE and lots of other amising pieces accesible to the audience
you describe.

Baron, Dennis. 1986. Grammar and Gender. New Haven: Yale UP.

Coffey, Caroline. 1984. "Language: A Transformative Key." Lg. in Soc.
 13(4): 511-13.

Crawford, Mary and Linda English. "Generic Versus Specific Inclusion of
 Women in Language: Effects on Recall." Journal of Psycholinguistic
 Research. 1984 13(5): 373-81.

Khosroshahi, Fatemeh. 1989. "Penguins don't care, but women do: A Social
 Identity Analysis of a Whorfian Problem." Lg. in Soc. 18: 505-

Korsmeyer, Carolyn. 1981. "The Hidden Joke: Generic Uses of Masculine
 Terminology." In Sexist Language: A Modern philosophical Analysis.
 Ed. Mary Vetterling-Braggin. New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams & Co.:

Olin-Hill, Alette. 1986. Mother Tongue, Father Time: A Decade of
 Linguistic Revolt. Bloomington: Indiana UP.

Penelope, Julia. Speaking Freely: Unlearning the Lies of the Father's
 Tongues. New York: Pergamon Press. 1990

Cameron, Deborah. 1993. Feminism and Linguistic Theory, 2nd ed. London:
 Macmillan Press.

Schulz, Muriel R. 1990. The semantic derogation of woman. In The
 Feminist Critique of Language. Ed. Deborah Cameron. London:
 Routeledge. 134-47.

Winant, T.R. (1990). How ordinary (sexist) discourse resists radical
(feminist) critque. In: A.Y. al-Hibri & M.A. Simons (eds.).
Indiana Univ. Press. 54-69.

Muehlhausler, Peter. (A book on pronouns, no title provided)
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