Sexism In English Language Analysis

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Sociolinguists assert that the question of power is central to language as it is in language that power relations are negotiated and challenged by members of speech communities, and such language is commonly ideological. According to Fairclough (1995), power can be classified in different forms; we can have “State power, social power, ideological power, and economic power” (p. 33). Traditional social power is the one used to maintain the status quo that advantages and/or disadvantages members of a certain community. Fairclough (1995) asserts that social power results from hegemony in a society which renders ideas and issues like gender inequalities as a natural status quo and to which individuals adhere without reasoning or contention. Using…show more content…
72). Accordingly, sexist language can be considered as any language that is supposed to include all people, but, unintentionally (or not) excludes one gender. 1.3. Analysis of Sexism in English Language Linguistic sexism, or sexism conveyed within language, manifests in many languages and exists in many forms (Pauwels, 2003). This kind of sexism is apparent in the English language as well. In fact, it has attracted the interest of many scholars who endeavored to find out the degree to which English language perpetuates sexist values. According to Piercey (2000), the English language is devised by man, and it conserves traditional prejudices against women since men are the dominant force who owns the power to create the symbols. Kramarae and Treichler (1985, cited in Piercey, 2000) claim that he English language “represents man’s image of himself and of ourselves and the world as his creation” (p.…show more content…
this monopoly over language is one of the means by which males have ensured their own primacy and consequently have ensured the invisibility or ‘other’ nature of females. (p. 12) 1.3.1. Reasons of Linguistic Sexism in English Language In order to be able to eliminate linguistic sexism from English language, we must first understand the reasons behind such a sexist composition. Many feminists affirm that linguistic sexism is neither a matter of simple naming of the world, nor it is about simple linguistic conventions between individuals. Cameron (1990) claims that sexist language “cannot be regarded simply as the naming of the world from one masculine perspective; it is better conceptualized as a multi-faceted phenomenon occurring in a number of quite complex systems of representation, all with their places in historical traditions” (cited in Piercey, 2000, p. 14). That is to say, linguistic representation is not a neutral and transparent means of representing reality, but androcentric and, thus, languages are loaded with linguistic
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