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How Gender Shapes the World$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723752.001.0001

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Gender in grammar and society

Gender in grammar and society

(p.185) 11 Gender in grammar and society
How Gender Shapes the World

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

Linguistic Gender is perhaps more of a ‘guide to social reality’ than any other linguistic category. Linguistic Gender reflects a classification of humans, and is among the lucky categories which are particularly sensitive to the reality of social structures. This is what it shares with other means of noun categorization, that is, classifiers of different types. Linguistic Gender—as assigned to humans—is a repository of historical asymmetries between Social Genders. Changes in Linguistic Genders may accompany external changes which impact Social Genders. Language reforms target Linguistic Genders. These are the topics addressed here.

Keywords:   Linguistic Gender, Social Gender, social structures, language reforms, feminism, generic pronoun, masculine generics, social inequality

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