Presentation on theme: "PAUL BAKER Will Ms ever be as frequent as Mr? A corpus-based comparison of gendered terms across four diachronic corpora of British English 19311961 19912006."— Presentation transcript:
PAUL BAKER Will Ms ever be as frequent as Mr? A corpus-based comparison of gendered terms across four diachronic corpora of British English 19311961 19912006
The British Brown Family All approximately 1 million words of written, published British English from 15 genres. BLOB (before LOB) 1931 British English LOB 1961 British English FLOB 1991 British English BE06 2006 British English All corpora mounted on CQPweb
Research Questions Has written British English become less sexist since the 1930s? Have proportions of gender-equivalent terms changed? Have there been any qualitative changes in gender representation? To what extent have strategies designed to make language non-sexist being taken up?
Caution Each corpus is a million words in size. Despite random sampling, the size may produce strange results. The corpora are only from four sampling points – any analysis can tell us nothing about years not sampled. Differences are therefore suggestive of change – they dont prove change. Common-sense and relating results to social events will help to prevent over- or under-interpretation.
MAN Man continually represented as physically strong and active: able, hale, fastest, healthy, energetic, powerful, strong, mighty, tough, virile Family man occurs in all 4 corpora – but never family woman (assumption that all woman are family women?) References to generic man continue : Neolithic man, primal man, primitive man, industrial man, prehistoric man etc. The Celts were the second wave of invaders to follow Neolithic man to Britain (BE06)
Summary Male bias still in existence but shrinking. Hypothesis 1– people more likely to stop using an old word (Mr) Hypothesis 2 – new terms will be met with resistance unless they are familiar (Ms, -person, police officer) Hypothesis 3 – forms that are easier to say are likely to be more successful (cop vs. him/her).
Summary Stereotypes of submissive, gossipy women seem to be declining Men are now sexually objectified (almost) as much as women. Continuing usage of generic man in history/archeology. Continuing absence of powerful/influential/physically strong/active women