Gender representation in different languages and grammatical marking on pronouns: when beauticians, musicians, and mechanics remain men

Garnham, Alan, Gabriel, Ute, Sarrasin, Oriane, Gygax, Pascal and Oakhill, Jane (2012) Gender representation in different languages and grammatical marking on pronouns: when beauticians, musicians, and mechanics remain men. Discourse Processes, 49 (6). pp. 481-500. ISSN 1532-6950

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Abstract

Gygax, Gabriel, Sarrasin, Oakhill, and Garnham (2008) showed that readers form a mental representation of gender that is based on grammatical gender in French and German (i.e., masculine supposedly interpretable as a generic form) but is based on stereotypical information in English. In this study, a modification of their stimulus material was used to examine the additional potential influence of pronouns. Across the three languages, pronouns differ in their grammatical gender marking: The English they is gender neutral, the French ils is masculine, and the German sie, although interpretable as generic, is morphologically feminine. Including a later pronominal reference to a group of people introduced by a plural role name significantly altered the masculine role name’s grammatical influence only in German, suggesting that grammatical cues that match (as in French) do not have a cumulative impact on the gender representation, whereas grammatical cues that mismatch (as in German) do counteract one another. These effects indicate that subtle morphological relations between forms actually used in a sentence and other forms have an immediate impact on language processing, although information about the other forms is not necessary for comprehension and may, in some cases, be detrimental to it.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0180 Experimental psychology
Depositing User: Alan Garnham
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 11:39
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 04:54
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41724

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