Gender In Language In The English Language

1922 Words8 Pages
According to the Legal Officer and Legislative Drafter Kadija Kabba (2011), the English language (as well as other languages) has developed in a way that reflects the dominance of men over women in society, sometimes excluding them from the discourse entirely. However, as the pressure of gender equality is constantly increasing in western societies, the existence of ‘sexist’ expressions such as “Mankind” to speak about all Humanity, erasing the presence of women all together, is questioned. The professor Angela Goddard (2015) claims that “While it [the language] may reflect reality in the sense that it reflects how we have organised society, for the same reason, it does not reflect equality, because the different social groups that make up our culture have not been treated equally.” In this essay, I will discuss the case of gender in language, and more specifically, the thriving debate over the use of ‘gender neutral’ equivalents for ‘sexist’ expressions, and whether this type of ‘verbal hygiene’ or ‘political correctness’ is really effective. In a first part, I will display the existing arguments in favour of these ‘gender neutral’ equivalents, and in a second part, the arguments against such a use. Finally, in a third part, I will discuss the actual effectiveness of this type of ‘verbal hygiene’ on the treatment of genders in a language. It is essential to differentiate Language and Discourse in order to address this issue properly. Language is the way humans have to
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