Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
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Since the second wave of feminism, non-sexist language use has become an increasingly important topic. A key issue in English is the choice of epicene pronouns, i.e. pronouns that refer to both sexes. Despite the global nature of English, little research has addressed this topic in EFL contexts. This study examines the use of the epicene pronouns , and in two L1 and L2 corpora of student writing. The corpus analyses show that, overall, the L2 English speakers use significantly more than the L1 speakers, whereas the L1 speakers use more. Variation found in the L2 subcorpora seems to be partly related to L1 influence: The writers who use the most are speakers of gendered L1s with a traditional practice of masculine generics. The study also shows that both L1 and L2 writers are affected by the antecedent type in their pronoun choice.


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