LINGUIST List 6.1093

Sun Aug 13 1995

Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1088

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 6.1088, Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1079

Message 1: Re: 6.1088, Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1079

Date: Sat, 12 Aug 1995 22:19:59 Re: 6.1088, Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1079
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.1088, Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1079

In response to Michael Newman (to whom I am very grateful for the
references), I think that there are two separate issues, aren't there:
one is the one he illuminates so well for modern English, namely, the
fact that the epicene HE biases perceptions in favor of male inter-
pretations; the other is that, even if that were not the case, there
would still be something very suspicious about the mere fact that
male/masc. pronouns and agreement are used so widely in languages of
the world for the epicene. I am not even sure that we can show that
the two are related. I would guess that in languages that truly
lack gender, one would still find some of the same perceptual
biases (although I am only guessing).

Alexis Manaster Ramer
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue