1887
Volume 111, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0019-0829
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1490
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Abstract

In English,inanimate referents that are not clearly defined in terms of sex-related attributes do not seem readily classifiable into feminine or masculine categories.

The present study of gender use by American speakers tested the gender connotations of English inanimate referents commonly considered or perceived as "neuter".

The results suggest that, when a noun is strongly connoted the natural gender rule applies, showing more salience for women than for men. However, contrary to the findings of current research, when the inanimate noun is conceived as neuter it is not necessarily labeled as masculine. Women are more likely than men to classify inanimate referents into feminine and masculine categories, and a confidence level test revealed that answers were more often random for male respondents while females tended to favor the feminine category. In light of this feminization tendency, this study suggests that in addition to its major function as a reference-tracking device, gender could be used as a "status marker".

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/content/journals/10.1075/itl.111-112.03zou
1996-01-01
2019-09-17
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): English. , First/Second Language acquisition , Grammatical gender and Natural gender
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