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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.

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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:

1 PAUL BAKER Will Ms ever be as frequent as Mr? A corpus-based comparison of gendered terms across four diachronic corpora of British English

2 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 BE British English All corpora mounted on CQPweb

3 CQPweb – girl

4 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?

5 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.

6 All pronouns

7 Gender inclusive pronouns BLOB 1931 LOB 1961 FLOB 1991 BE him or her0453 he or she45147 he/she0023 s/he0081 him/her0030 totals493214


9 Spokes- BLOB 1931 LOB 1961 FLOB 1991 BE spokesman spokeswoman0085 spokesperson0024

10 Police- BLOB 1931 LOB 1961 FLOB 1991 BE policeman policewoman0303 WPC (woman police constable) 0030 PC (police constable) 0172 police constable0222 police officer cop/copper061037

11 Gendered roles spokesman, policeman,businessman,salesman,clergyman,statesman,congressman, barman, craftsman, fisherman, sportsman, watchman, postman, ombudsman, seaman, workman,foreman, chairman, doorman, handyman, countryman, rifleman, coachman, gunman, showman,draughtsman, fireman, manservant, journeyman, highwayman, airman, cameraman, milkman, footman, lineman, guardsman, cattleman, serviceman, yachtsman, tradesman, batman, midshipman, helmsman, boatman, signalman, churchman, swordsman, houseman, infantryman, huntsman, hitman, horseman, stuntman, ploughman, henchman, cowman, oarsman, anchorman, roadman, headsman, dalesman, nurseryman, toll-man, townsman, leadsman, counterman, engineman, militiaman, headman, dustman, herdsman, pressman, liveryman, plantsman, harp-man, merchantman, trawlerman, ticket-man, landsman, benchman, groundman, shopman, baggage-man, bagman, ambulanceman, seedsman, dairyman, netsman, coalman, ferryman landlady, charlady, spokeswoman, charwoman, saleswoman, policewoman, manageress, businesswoman, needlewoman, horse-woman, vice chairwoman, woman-mercenary, flower-woman, country-woman, actress, stewardess, mayoress, headmistress, seamstress, authoress, shepherdess, manageress, murderess, patroness, deaconess, prophetess, embroideress, schoolmistress, priestess, housemistress, poetess, millionairess, proprietess, princess,mistress, hostess, Duchess,waitress,governess, empress,baroness,marquess,countess, empress

12 Gender-specific roles (waitress, lady doctor, fireman etc)

13 Gender-specific adjectives – changes over time 1931 man – dilapidated, ferret-like, plain, suet-pudding- faced, thick-set, dirty, shabby, spectacled 2006 man - hunky, handsome, dapper, Gap-clad, fashion- conscious 1931 woman – obedient, docile, quiet, mad, possessive, vain, talkative 2006 woman – grumpy, assertive, determined, fun-loving, formidable

14 Unique adjectives – stable patterns MAN 1931 – celebrated, distinguished, noted, rich, successful, wealthy, urbane 1961 – wealthy, grand, famous, top 1991 – influential, famous, self-made, richest, cultivated 2006 – great, wealthy, sophisticated, dignified These words are very rare with WOMAN.

15 woman as (continually) desirable 1931 – beautiful, broad-bosomed, pretty, good- looking, fine 1961 – desirable, lovely, prettiest, fresh- complexioned, handsomest, magnificant-looking, 1991 –beautiful, sensuous, attractive, luscious, sexiest, voluptuous 2006 – handsome, sultry, pretty, beautiful, lovely, delightful

16 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)

17 Titles

18 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).

19 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

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