Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The feminisation of agentives in French and Spanish speaking countries : a cross-linguistic and cross-continental comparison
Author: Fraser, Elaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 1510
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Non-sexist writing guidelines have been produced since the middle of the 20th century but often cause controversy. Taking only one aspect of such language reform, the feminisation of agentives, the present study aims to compare two similarly-structured, grammatically-gendered languages, French and Spanish, with regard to the visibility of women in the print media. After reviewing research that shows the use of masculine gendered agentives can induce, or reinforce, stereotypes which obscure female agency, prior studies of feminisation are classified by methodology and data source showing that little previous research has taken advantage of corpus techniques to analyse naturally occurring data, nor is there a significant body of contrastive research comparing feminisation strategies across languages or across countries with the same language. The collation of a cross-continental and cross-language corpus of media references to named people is therefore proposed and executed to allow both quantitative and qualitative analysis of naturally-occurring feminisations (or, indeed, their absence). Using electronic techniques, a corpus of over 5,000 references to named individuals was collated from press websites in France, Spain, Canada and Argentina. The form of the agentives referring to women was compared to strategies suggested in the UN-produced guidelines on gender neutral language, for French and Spanish, and discrepancies were classified. Classification of the agentives’ morphology was also made, to assign a 'predicted' base gender to each agentive. Quantitative and qualitative analyses performed on the data then drive the discussion of similarities and differences in feminisation strategies, across the chosen languages and countries. The study shows that prestige agentives cause feminisation difficulties across both languages, independently of morphology, whilst also identifying issues that are specific to one language group or one area. Possible reasons for both the similarities and differences are suggested and in turn suggest areas for further research using similar, corpus-based techniques.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available