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The development of gender neutral pronouns: how gender neutral pronouns are used in the New York Times
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to look at how gender neutral third person singular pronouns are used in the New York Times and what the attitudes towards these pronouns are. Eleven articles containing gender neutral pronouns have been analysed by using a model based on discourse analysis and appraisal theory. The result showed that fifteen pronouns were introduced, the most commonly used being 'they' and variants of 'ze'. These pronouns were mainly used to discuss the words themselves. It was found that the gender neutral pronouns raised resistance because the pronouns question the cisgenderist discourse. On the other hand, gender neutral pronouns were considered to be needed for matters of identification and to make it possible to talk about gender in broader terms. Furthermore, gender neutral pronouns and identities were represented in a way that made them seem less genuine than binary pronouns and gender. To be able to draw more general conclusions about the development of gender neutral pronouns in the English language, however, research on a wider scale must be made.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 38 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender- neutral pronouns, generic pronouns, gender fair language, third person singular ‘they’, third person singular ‘ze’, cisgenderism, critical discourse analysis
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8921Local ID: EXE400OAI: diva2:897480
Subject / course
Educational science
Educational program
Teacher Traning Programme
Available from: 2016-01-26 Created: 2016-01-25 Last updated: 2016-01-26Bibliographically approved

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