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Four Dimensions of Criticism Against Gender-Fair Language

Vergoossen, Hellen ; Renström, Emma ; Lindqvist, Anna LU and Gustafsson Sendén, Marie (2020) In Sex Roles: A Journal of Research
Abstract (Swedish)
The gender-neutral third-person pronoun singular hen was recently introduced in Swedish as a complement to she (hon) and he (han). The initiative to add hen initially received strong criticism. In the present study, we analyzed 208 arguments from 168 participants with critical attitudes toward hen. We used Blaubergs’ (1980) and Parks and Roberton’s (1998) taxonomies of critical arguments against past gender-fair language reforms in English in the 1970s and 1990s as a basis for coding the arguments. A majority of arguments (80.7%) could be coded into existing categories, indicating that criticisms of gender-fair language initiatives are similar across different times and cultural contexts. Two categories of arguments did not fit existing... (More)
The gender-neutral third-person pronoun singular hen was recently introduced in Swedish as a complement to she (hon) and he (han). The initiative to add hen initially received strong criticism. In the present study, we analyzed 208 arguments from 168 participants with critical attitudes toward hen. We used Blaubergs’ (1980) and Parks and Roberton’s (1998) taxonomies of critical arguments against past gender-fair language reforms in English in the 1970s and 1990s as a basis for coding the arguments. A majority of arguments (80.7%) could be coded into existing categories, indicating that criticisms of gender-fair language initiatives are similar across different times and cultural contexts. Two categories of arguments did not fit existing categories (19.3%): gender-neutral pronouns are distracting in communication and gender information is important in communication. Furthermore, we established four overarching dimensions that capture assumptions and beliefs underlying gender-fair language criticism: (a) Defending the Linguistic Status Quo (39.4%), (b) Sexism and Cisgenderism (27.4%), (c) Diminishing the Issue and Its Proponents (26.9%), and (d) Distractor In Communication (6.3%). These dimensions of criticisms should be considered and addressed in different ways when implementing gender-fair language. (Less)
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author
; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Gender, Gender identity, Gender-fair language, Gender-inclusive language, Gender-neutral pronouns, Hen, Language reforms, Pronouns, Sexism
in
Sex Roles: A Journal of Research
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:85077598403
ISSN
0360-0025
DOI
10.1007/s11199-019-01108-x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
869a75b5-6d8c-440a-8b29-4603d1906efa
date added to LUP
2020-01-08 16:45:37
date last changed
2020-10-07 06:50:36
@article{869a75b5-6d8c-440a-8b29-4603d1906efa,
  abstract     = {The gender-neutral third-person pronoun singular hen was recently introduced in Swedish as a complement to she (hon) and he (han). The initiative to add hen initially received strong criticism. In the present study, we analyzed 208 arguments from 168 participants with critical attitudes toward hen. We used Blaubergs’ (1980) and Parks and Roberton’s (1998) taxonomies of critical arguments against past gender-fair language reforms in English in the 1970s and 1990s as a basis for coding the arguments. A majority of arguments (80.7%) could be coded into existing categories, indicating that criticisms of gender-fair language initiatives are similar across different times and cultural contexts. Two categories of arguments did not fit existing categories (19.3%): gender-neutral pronouns are distracting in communication and gender information is important in communication. Furthermore, we established four overarching dimensions that capture assumptions and beliefs underlying gender-fair language criticism: (a) Defending the Linguistic Status Quo (39.4%), (b) Sexism and Cisgenderism (27.4%), (c) Diminishing the Issue and Its Proponents (26.9%), and (d) Distractor In Communication (6.3%). These dimensions of criticisms should be considered and addressed in different ways when implementing gender-fair language.},
  author       = {Vergoossen, Hellen and Renström, Emma and Lindqvist, Anna and Gustafsson Sendén, Marie},
  issn         = {0360-0025},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Sex Roles: A Journal of Research},
  title        = {Four Dimensions of Criticism Against Gender-Fair Language},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-019-01108-x},
  doi          = {10.1007/s11199-019-01108-x},
  year         = {2020},
}