Sex Changes in Language

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 70–71. Reviews the book, Sexism and Language by Alleen Pace Nilsen, Haig Bosmajian, H. Lee Gershuny, and Julia P. Stanley (1977). The four authors of the eight essays in this book define the dimensions of sexism in language, by giving information on how and why sexist language is used, by suggesting the constraints such language places on the way we conceptualize reality, and by proposing a set of guidelines for nonsexist language use. The authors provide a great deal of information useful to anyone who wants to know more about the structure of our everyday “natural” language. While the essays are all related in their concern with the way everyday vocabulary and grammar subtly teaches females and males how to think about each other, the collection lacks an overview of the issues and arguments. Recent studies are providing information on the impact of the sexist usage on the perceptions and aspirations of females and males. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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