Language and Gender Chapter 1
! http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/pat- and-chris/1353353/ ! This will be on D2L when we get it up and running, or I will email it to you. !
The importance given to gender
What’s the first thing that is said about a newborn child? ! ! !
It’s healthy! It’s human! It’s female! -- It’s male! ! Do parents delight in a newborn girl as much as in a newborn boy? 1
! What does “it’s a girl/boy” say about the child?
! How do parents react to an intersexed child – a child that exhibits both male and female characteristics? ! !
What color blankets are give to baby girls? What color blankets are given to baby boys? Has it always been this way?
Do animals have gender?
We use gendered pronouns even with animals where it’s not noticeable and we could say “it.” We put pink ribbons in girl dog’s hair and camouflage on boy dogs. ! ! !
[For most people in most cultures ...] Gender is an integral part of personhood. It is hard to wrap one’s brain around the idea of a gender-neutral, gender-indeterminate person, or even a gender-neutral pet. ! Even when talking about deity, most would rather pray to God as Father (or Mother), not as Great Spirit or Holy Spirit. ! Referring to God as “It” feels impersonal.
For purposes of this lecture and this class, do not confuse masculine and feminine with sexual preference or orientation. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals, and those who do not fit in this dichotomy, may act or talk in ways that members of a culture may perceive as more masculine or feminine. ! ! !
There is also what is know as “grammatical gender.”
Spoken Mandarin has very little -- “da” is he, she, (or it?). Written Mandarin has three pronouns for he, she, and God.
[Note that Japanese and Korean are linguistically very different from Chinese, even though they borrow words and writing methods.] !...