• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How significant are the ways the English language represents women and men?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How significant are the ways the English language represents women and men? In the beginning of the twentieth century, many people felt that language should be used in certain ways. In "The Semantic Derogation of Woman" Muriel Schulz presents an interesting observation of words which refer to women. She claims that this shows the attitudes and fears that men hold about women. Schultz explains that words descend on several theories of why you can predict that almost always, words, once neutral or positive, meaning women acquire negative and often sexual connotations. Historically men have made language for many reasons. Mainly men have created language because they were the primary creators of most cultures. So, when Schultz examines biases she is asserting that these are male biases that have been handed down through the generations. Schulz notes that it is interesting that terms of showing affection, which are meant to stress those things men appreciate, often become acquainted with a degraded, shameful profession. ...read more.

Middle

These words would also stop anyone from implying inequality between the sexes. However it is an inconvenience and most people now a days do not mind having a title that could mean a male or a female. Default assumptions can also lead to problems in society. This is when people assume something is 'normal'. For example, many people assume a surgeon is a male and would never think of it as a female. Therefore if someone spoke about a surgeon, they would be puzzled if it could not possibly be a male and there was no other route out because it would not occur to them that it could be a female. Adjectives when used to describe the sexes can be both positive and negative. The same adjective when used to describe a different sex can have opposing connotations. For example 'manly' used to describe a man implies strength and bravery. However 'manly' used to describe a woman would imply she was of masculine appearance or lacked femininity or perhaps even implying that she may be of masculine sexuality. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst others think that the text was in the generic form, meaning that all humanity will spread the word of the God. -Man as a suffix, similarly, often occur as a derivative of 'humMANity' rather than being a false generic. E.g. manpower, mankind, manmade. The female equivalents often occur as a result of the cultural expectation of the female being the carer, protector and primary educator. E.g Motherland, Mother tongue, Mother earth. Whether or not sexist language should be avoided depends on the circumstances and the context. Demeaning or derogative language is not desirable in modern society where we are expected to be considered as equals. However there are biological differences between the sexes and to avoid all sexist language would not acknowledge this. e.g. mother changed to parent would not acknowledge the unchallengeable biological role of the female. Some of our language has developed over a long period and is part of our culture. It should not be oppressed because a minority of radical thinkers find it offensive. However, the English language is constantly evolving, and should adapt to suit the majority views on what is acceptable. Emily Foley English 22.10.04 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Language Aquisition Notes

    5 star(s)

    that a shared culture is created --> A shared culture means a shared language is required. * Some still think language is decaying... but we can't really say that - we're descriptivists, remember! But their views are expressed in: o Crumbling castle view - language is a beautiful building which must be preserved as is.

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    eat and drink and plenty of people around to talk to.I have visited Dubai, Brasil and USA which were wonderful but I had just as much fun in Blackpool and Amsterdam - it's the company that can make or break a vacation as well as the place itself.

  1. How do Politicians gain support through language? AQA English coursework

    A mixture of complex and simple sentences adds pace to a speech. Simple sentences are often used to add impact and emphasis whereas complex sentences are used to give more information. All three speakers use crescendo within complex sentences, for example, Tony Blair uses declarative complex sentence, "Not a society

  2. In what ways might language be used as an instrument of oppression?

    This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room."(Woolf 2172) Woolf shows that throughout the history of literature, male language has been valued at the expense of feminine language. Indeed, over the years male critics have constructed literary canons that exclude women writers

  1. The Influence of English Mass Culture on Estonia

    Years ago, America's foods began to affect the rest of the world - not only raw staples such as wheat and corn, but with a new American cuisine that spread worldwide. American emphasis on convenience and rapid consumption is best represented in fast foods such as hamburgers, french fries, and soft drinks, which virtually every American has eaten.

  2. Language and Sexuality throughout the Decades.

    Maude's strong personality shone through her use of language. Another female character's whose strong personality shone through her use of language was Mrs. Jefferson from "The Jeffersons." The women's language in this show was bright and engaging, and what was so interesting was that the men were portrayed basically as idiots.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work