LINGUIST List 32.2351

Mon Jul 12 2021

Calls: Germanic; Romance; Gen Ling, Hist Ling, Psycholing, Socioling, Text/Corpus Ling/Portugal

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 09-Jul-2021
From: Benjamin Fagard <>
Subject: Between feminine and masculine: language(s) and society
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Full Title: Between feminine and masculine: language(s) and society
Short Title: BetFaM2021

Date: 09-Dec-2021 - 10-Dec-2021
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Contact Person: Benjamin Fagard
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Language Family(ies): Germanic; Romance

Call Deadline: 31-Aug-2021

Meeting Description:

The motivation of this conference is to provide scientific data on the possibility of gender-inclusive language and the possible evolution towards gender-neutral language – an ongoing process in much of the Western world, albeit not without debates. Since the end of the 70’s, the issue of language and gender has fostered an abundant literature in various domains. There has been a steep increase in interest for these issues in recent years.

The body of literature on gender in linguistics clearly points to the existence of a typologically common imbalance between genders, with strong disparities across languages. In some languages, gender is explicitly marked, with morphosyntactic morphemes; in other, it is marked only in pronouns, or barely marked at all. Such systems are far from balanced, or symmetrical: like all linguistic paradigms, they contain exceptions – one important source of asymmetry being the so-called generic use of the masculine, another one the existence of semantic asymmetries (see e.g. for French Yaguello 1978 ). One question in point is whether the imbalance in linguistic gender systems is purely the result of the natural evolution of language, or whether it results at least partly from human intervention.

Another issue is whether this gender asymmetry is a source of discrimination. Is it a minor issue with little importance for society – are there, as has been said over and over again, other, more important issues to deal with, such as equal pay? Or is it an important issue, having consequences for the cognitive build-up of children? This has been a key question in psycholinguistic studies on gender, and experiments have shown repeatedly that the gender asymmetry, and specifically the generic masculine, do have an impact on our cognitive representations, in English, German, French, and probably whatever the language (Trömel-Plötz 1978, Braun et al. 1998, Stahlberg et al. 2007, Gabriel & Gygax 2016, Gygax et al. 2019). Like algorithms (Bolukbasi et al., 2016), humans seem to be sensitive to the discriminations induced by gender asymmetries.

A final question (for now) is whether this asymmetry is inevitable, or if there are ways to go toward a greater balance between genders. For instance, much has been said and written about the neutral Swedish pronoun hen (Sendén et al. 2015), but neutral pronouns have appeared in other languages. Scholars who study the various ways of achieving gender equality in language do not necessarily agree on how we should go about this. Is it possible to come up with a toolkit for inclusive language?

Call for Papers:

You can submit your abstract (between 500 and 1,000 words, i.e. 1 or 2 pages, including references) in English, Portuguese or French, on Easychair (, until August 31, 2021.
Notifications will be sent by September 20.

Inscriptions: between September and the end of October.

For further information, please contact us at

Invited Speakers:
Gabriele Diewald, Universität Hannover
Daniel Elmiger, Université de Genève
Bernard Cerquiglini, Université Paris 7

Organizing Committee
Ana Margarida Abrantes, CECC, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Marine Delaborde, Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)
Benjamin Fagard, Lattice (CNRS, ENS & Sorbonne Nouvelle; PSL)
Peter Hanenberg, Universidade Católica do Portugal & CECC
Gabrielle Le Tallec, Cergy & Lattice (CNRS, ENS & Sorbonne Nouvelle; PSL)

Scientific Committee:
Julie Abbou, Université Paris 7, LLF
Ana Margarida Abrantes, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Marie-Ève Arbour, Office Québécois de la Langue Française
Giuseppe Balirano, University of Naples « L’Orientale »
Bernard Cerquiglini, Université Paris 7
Ann Coady, Aix-Marseille Université
Marine Delaborde, Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)
Daniel Elmiger, University of Geneva
Benjamin Fagard, Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)
Auphélie Ferreira, Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)
Peter Hanenberg, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Gabrielle Le Tallec, Paris XIII & Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)
Inés Lozano, Universitat Politècnica de València
Machteld Meulleman, Université de Reims
Martin Pleško, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic
Laure Sarda, Lattice (ENS, Sorbonne Nouvelle & CNRS; PSL)

Page Updated: 12-Jul-2021