Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Research into the linguistic descriptions of women have revealed that females tend to be defined in terms of their relationships to men, their appearance and/or sexual attributes, and that women and their activities tend to be trivialised (Pauwels 1987; Thorne et al. 1983). Additional, more recent research into gender representation has revealed dehumanising descriptions of women as food and as animals, such as birds and horses (Hines 1994; Stirling 1987). Such metaphors reflect individually or socially constructed conceptual associations between real-world phenomena that may serve to trivialise or enhance members of a given group. This paper reports on an investigation into lexical representations of men and women in the Hong Kong variety of English. Analysis includes all nominal and verbal descriptors of men and women and the acts performed by them. These descriptors were distributed into semantic classes on the basis of the qualities they reveal about their human referents. Results show that men are conceptualized as pro-active and assertive beings, to some extent born to succeed; while women are under-developed, emotional and in need of protection. The gender metaphors of women are compatible with concepts of both early stages of human development and subhuman entities, such as animals.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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