Category Archives: Sociology

Language Log » Ludicrous, even derogatory?

This blurb from Mark Liberman takes a quick look at the varied strategies available to languages and their speakers to accommodate changing gender roles in today’s society. English, Spanish, and Italian are reviewed; Spanish and Italian that have an entrenched grammatical gender system characterized by masculine as the default are moving towards more adoption of the feminine marker in sex-appropriate cases. However, I did not know that in the Italian case, the move is seen as derogatory; masculine forms still carry the prestige. English on the other hand is moving towards more neutral forms “chairman > chairperson, not chairman/chairwoman”.

Language Log » Ludicrous, even derogatory?.