The battle to make French a “gender-neutral language” is emphasizing the country’s inherent sexism

That the French language remains so central to the culture here wouldn’t surprise most people outside the country. Still, having two teenagers in French middle school has taught me to appreciate how profoundly important it remains for people not just to master their language skills, but to perfect them. Whereas the practice of teaching grammar [...]

By |2017-12-19T14:55:38+00:00December 19th, 2017|French language, Gender|0 Comments

Ol’ Man River – how gendered language shapes the way we see the world

But ol’ man river, He jes’ keeps rollin’ along! Is water male or female – and does it really matter? Unlike languages such as French, Spanish and German, English does not allocate gender to words. Although some things, ships and countries for example, often have feminine associations, there are no grammatical rules to make something [...]

By |2017-11-30T12:37:38+00:00November 30th, 2017|Gender, Language|0 Comments

She? Ze? They? What’s In a Gender Pronoun

What happens when 334 linguists, lexicographers, grammarians and etymologists gather in a stuffy lecture hall on a Friday night to debate the lexical trends of the year? They become the unlikely heroes of the new gender revolution. That’s what happened here earlier this month anyway, at a downtown Marriott, where members of the 127-year-old American [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:22:51+00:00January 31st, 2016|English Language, Gender, Gender pronoun, Language|0 Comments

How Testosterone Affects Language

The unfortunate thing about studies on the differences between male and female brains is that they get overstated in ways that perpetuate stereotypes. (“Women are better at nurturing, so why don’t you bring the cupcakes?”) The unfortunate thing about stereotypes is that there’s sometimes a grain of truth at their center that gets distorted to [...]

By |2015-09-02T23:59:19+00:00September 2nd, 2015|Gender, Language|0 Comments