Sociolinguistics and gender (biological gender (Women have a preference…
Sociolinguistics and gender
the alleged inherent sexism in French.
Yvette Roudy - ministre des Droits de la femme. Appointed by Mitterand - first socialist government. - Considered a waste of tax-payers' money by many French citizens.
Set task of addressing problem of sexism in French language. Her tasks were:
1) Find gaps in French lexicon
2) suggest training
3) recommend job titles
4) champion the non-sexist use of French.
Is French sexist in itself or is it used in a sexist way?
Failed launch of
Women at the top of professions felt that new job titles sent them backwards. e.g.
Women have a preference for the standard - tend to keep 'ne' article more than men.
Only distinction biologically is that men have larger larynx and therefore deeper voices.
More difficult to justify why women speak differently.
avoidance theory - women must make good use of standard language to gain social prestige and more advantages in society. E.g. women have traditionally avoided taboo language.
Men sustain regional languages, whilst women switch to the standard (French).
Women use tag questions. Idea that women need affirmation? Socially docile?
Men prefer imperatives.
gender agreement of adjectives
- where exceptions are lost. In this case there is sometimes a loss of feminine forms of adjectives by women in spoken French. E.g. Elle est confus.
Levelling is modeled on masculine form. Loss of feminine forms not of masculine forms. No evidence of men appropriating feminine forms. Usually because of lack of accuracy, to save time - more work to be done to use feminine form.
generic masculine in French
uncontroversial forms- traditionally masculine forms of words that also work as feminine forms.
e.g le/la juge
No change morphologically, but feminine article. Job title remains the same but feminine article is used to show that it's a woman doing it.
No change morphologically, masculine article. Reclamation of masculine forms and apply them to women.
Morphologically different, plus feminine article. e.g. la professeure
Started out in early 2017 when a publishing house was printing primary school textbooks wanted to used a more inclusive way of writing.
Students would be expected to write like this at all times. An attempt at equality.
Aims of E.I. are to 1) designate titles according to gender (une maire). 2) Include the feminine in plurals 3) Avoid 'homme' or 'femme' e.g. Les droits humains NOT de l'homme
Sophie Bailly's examination of
Le Petit Robert
Found that in examples given of adjectives, the positive adjectives were of men and the negative adjective examples were of women.
Example of sexist use of French language over an inherent sexism.