One of the most dominant conflicts in our society is the differences and stereotypes between genders in many aspects. Formerly, women were considered as the nonentity human being abasing them in every area. They didn’t have the right to be educated or be political enrolled but the most sudden fact was that they were considered as the weak sex and depended on males. Fortunately, in our days this phenomenon is less shown in social life but it still exists in many aspects. For example , in linguistic field , more words in English language are refereed to man than women. Also we can see some sexist stereotypes in English metaphors that are sarcastic in majority only for females. After all we still wonder if English language or language in overage can be considered as sexist. Spender (1980) claims that language was formed by men and that the meanings of words were defined by those who held positions of authority or generally had prestige . These people due to their power also imposed “rules” in relation to what is considered socially acceptable.
Derivation is a way of word formation with the help of derivational morphemes – affixes and suffixes.This is one of the morphological peculiarities of Sexism in English language.That means ,a word is been formed with meaning and category distinct from that of its base through the addition of an affix. These affixes help us to identify relationships within word,Acording to Guimei in English lexicon one of the most obvious evidences of the sexism is the affixes which lead to a view of women as a derivation from a male term . The feminine one is always derivative of the masculine one by adding a feminine suffix such as -ess and -ette.Suffix-ess .This linguistic phenomen not only marks a lower position of the feminine words but also mentions the connection between female and male reference to the pair of words. For example the pair of governor with governess. Governor is a ruler of a country and associates with power and high social status ,while governess is a woman employed to teach young children in their home that belongs to a lower social class. Because of the gender differentiation, these two words have totally different meanings.
Sexism in English language is also defined in syntactic terms where we can see it in generic pronouns which are nouns of common gender, that refer to either male or female. When such nouns are used with generic reference in single form, the traditional grammar advocates using the masculine pronouns in the context for the purpose of coherence with generic nouns. Generic pronouns are pronouns that are said to refer, with equal likelihood, to women and men. But the language ignores women by allowing masculine terms to be used specifically to refer to males and commonly to refer to human beings in general. The generic pronoun “he” is the most well known example of the gender-specific of sexist language, and is frequently referred to be “he/man” language.Formally, ‘he’, ‘him’ or ‘his’ can be used to refer to such indefinite pronouns as each, everyone, everybody, no one, and so on. Word order as Graddol, D.,J. (1989) in their study “Gender Voices” attest the fact that sexism in language is also reflected in word order. When men and women are presented together, usually words denoting male sex are put in front of female sex.For example, ‘Good morning, boys and girls’, this language phenomenon seems so natural .In 1553, Wilson said that is more natural to place man before woman, as in male and female. This lends weight to the argument that males come first in the natural order, and this is one of the first examples of a male arguing for not only just that males are superior but that this superiority should be reflected in the language. Making females come second reflects the sexist attitude that men are superior to women.Otherwise, Atkinson, K. claims that there are also cases in which male-female order is reversed, for example bride and groom, and ladies and gentlemen.
Semantically sexist-language can be perceived in many aspects as unfair for females because they are neglected as Cameron, D (2005) says.Althought, some words also show the lower social status of women. For example ,the English distinction between Mrs and Miss which is showing whether or not the bearer is married.As a result it is more important for a woman than for a man to show whether they are married as we can see. Stereotyped images of men and women are based on generalizations of what women and men should be and how they should behave. Therefore, in society the changing roles of the sexes is semantically obvious where male and female stereotyping frequently in relation to occupations and gender roles. Women who are employed outside the home are still described in terms of being depended on their husband or father. That doesnt happened with Men where are shown in their professional roles seldom describe them as ‘father of’, ‘husband of’ and the like. The word “man” is supposed to cover all people of the human species. However, its significance is sometimes controversial. Thus, according to the Council of Europe, “the use of the male gender to declare the sex of the two sexes creates, in modern society, uncertainty as to the persons, men or women concerned”.One reason for this ambiguity is that the exclusive use of the word “man” to denote men and women establishes a hierarchy between the two sexes.
It’s important to use language which includes both men and women, making no distinction between the two different genders, and that is called gender-neutral language. In English, a person’s gender is explicit in the third person singular pronouns (i.e. he, she, his, hers, etc.). There are no personal pronouns that can refer to someone without identifying whether that person is male or female.That fact makes this process more difficult but using gender-neutral can be benefitial.One option is that we can use the wording ‘he or she’, ‘his or her’, etc. or can make the relevant noun plural, rewording the sentence as necessary. Also another option is to use the plural pronouns they, them, their, etc., despite the fact that they are referring back to a singular noun ,but suddenly this way wont be effective in all cases.
In conclusion, the power of language in perpetuation and creation of stereotypes for the sexes is undeniable. In addition to raising awareness of language racism, we need to apply a range of applicable and conscious language practices to serve the needs of a modern, equal, decent and harmonious society for both sexes.This phenomenon its part of the society and our daily life .Its very important to minimize it because not only affects our thoughts but also our behavior and attitude.If we want to stop sexism in society, sexist phrases should be restricted and the language’s capacity to be analyzed should be analyzed by the difference between the two sexes. Only in this way will we be able to control sexist thought, so that it can no longer be transmitted through acts, advertisements, speech and books.Language creates society in real terms. Every social resource of knowledge is based on language as a structure of self-explanatory elements. It is also considered to be the most important element of human communication system.
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