• 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)

    - like amelioration (meaning of word becomes better),perjoration (meaning of word becoming worse), broadening (word means more than one thing), narrowing (word means fewer things now), coinings/neologisms (new words, like 'kodak'), loan words (words from other langs etc) etc. These are all examples of semantic change.

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

    is the pessimist believes we will be defeated by them; the optimist thinks the challenges can be overcome. " the noun subordinate clause " [that] the challenges can be overcome" appears at the end for emphasis and suggests despite Labours troubles, they can rise above them The complex sentence, "Because

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

    my ethnicity: Born in South Liverpool, later lived in Connecticut and New York where my first child was born. Lived in Manchester(Cholrton) where other two children where born, moved ot Cheshire 15yrs ago. favorite hot spots: Love restaurants and wine bars, but also my kitchen as i love to cook.

  2. The Influence of English Mass Culture on Estonia

    real aim was to destroy the basis of Estonian national identity and Estonian culture. Resistance was most pronounced in cultural life. A distancing from the stable patterns of post-totalitarianism began in Estonia's cultural life and policies in 1988, when representatives of the cultural field voiced their views for the first

  1. 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.

  2. In what ways does the English language suggest that women are inferior to men?

    Another way in which we can see that women are inferior to men is the use of suffixes. Suffixes show that we cannot just describe a person?s job or purpose by using the same word for both sexes and however need to use different endings for each of the genders.

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