The purpose of the present study was to provide information on the acceptability of some selected gender-exclusive and inclusive usages and lexis in Hong Kong English. They include the selection of generic he or gender-neutral pronouns anaphoric to indefinite pronouns (e.g., everybody, someone) and occupational terms (e.g., doctor, lawyer, cleaner). A number of generic nouns and sex-unspecified nouns with or without morphologically marked gender were also examined (e.g., chairman vs chairperson, fireman vs fire fighter). The findings reveal that linguistic sexism is still prevalent in Hong Kong. However, the strong feminist movement in Western countries and in the education field has had an impact among young people, some of whom have shown concern to avoid gender-biased language. Although consistent gender differences were not found in the present study, some significant differences between men and women were revealed; a relatively higher proportion of women opted for the coordinate pronoun he/she and gender-neutral occupational terms, whereas more men opted for generic they.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 16, 2007
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