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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
A 7 page essay that discusses the linguistic issue of using the masculine form in English to include both men and women. The writer summarizes the argument presented by Miller and Swift in their essay (bibliographical data not available on this essay), and then goes on to argue that these arguments are correct and non-specific, non-sexist language should be used. Bibliography lists 1 source.
7 pages (~225 words per page)
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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:
specific words that are suppose to be inclusive of both sexes, such as "mankind." However, in their essay "Whos in Charge of the English Language?" authors Casey Miller and Kate
Swift present an eloquent argument that the use of the masculine form has never succeeded in its goal of being inclusive, that such use of language is distinctly and irrevocably
biased. Some people shrug off the feminist complaint about genderized language; however, a close examination of Miller and Swifts arguments shows that these arguments are very difficult to dispute.
Basically, Miller and Swift argue that the structure of English reflects the patriarchal focus of society. They assert that English has an androcentric focus due to the fact that
the society it has been dominated by males and, therefore, it is natural for patriarchal societies to reflect a "male-centered" perspective. Well into the twentieth century, women had few
legal rights. From a legal standpoint, when a man and woman married they became one person, and that person was the man. Since women were relegated entirely to the
domestic sphere, they had no appreciable say in societal functions.. Women were invisible. The linguistic subsumption of the female within male-oriented words is therefore simply a reflection of a male
dominated society. Furthermore, Miller and Swift point out that while words that are considered "masculine" traits describe admirable qualities that any human being would desire, word that are considered
synonyms for "womanly" describe qualities that are "trivial." One of the most significant points made by Miller and Swift is that, at one time, it was accepted
to use the pronoun "they" with a singular referent. In 1759, Lord Chesterfield, a "well-educated British statesman," wrote "if a person is born of a gloomy temper, they cannot help