Essay about Gender Inequality : Gender And Gender

Essay about Gender Inequality : Gender And Gender

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A topic of much debate in the current society, gender can also be found to be debatable in a much narrower field of observation, one that, at first glance, does not have anything to do with the actual subject. In fact, gender in the grammatical field seems to be as nebulous as gender in society, there is no unanimous consensus as to what stand for gender. The present report will focus on gender in the substantive and how grammarians define it. In particular, Quirk et al.’s grammar and Huddleston and Pullum’s will be look at in order to draw the portrait of what makes gender in the substantive. Nevertheless, by looking into problems that may be found in both grammars, the report will show that the construction of gender is not set in stone, but it is based on a possible understanding from the few rather than a finite rule.
Quirk et al. define gender in the substantive as a classification of “nouns, pronouns, and others words” based on “certain meaning-related distinctions, especially a distinction related to the sex of the referent” (314). They distinguish the English language from others by its lack of gender inflections in nous, determiners, and adjectives. In fact, gender can only be seen through 3rd person pronouns and wh-pronouns. In nouns of the English language, gender is said to be ‘notional’ or ‘covert’, opposed to ‘grammatical’ or ‘overt’ in other languages. Nouns are classified with regards to their coreferential link with wh-pronouns. They write that they use male and female to define the gender of nouns. In the section on personal male/female nouns, they write that “personal male nouns have pronoun coreference with who-he while female nouns with who-she” (315). They explain that there are two types of nouns. First, ...


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...ition confuses the reader on a matter that is already subjected to social confusion. Because gender can also distinguish between the relative pronouns who and which, it further shows how it is not only based on sex distinctions (Huddleston & Pullum, 485).
Another problem with Quirk et al.’s grammar is that they see he as “masculine and chiefly personal” (314), but that disregards the use of he as the basic animate. Their grammar constantly opposes he and she, putting the former with male nouns and the latter with female nouns (315). They do not consider the possibility of using he as the basic term for animation. It can be used regardless of sex, as long as it is autonomous. By skipping over this use of he, the grammar invites the reader to judge the use of the basic animate he in common usage as being biased, when in truth it only represents whatever is animate.

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