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Attitudes of University Students to Some Verbal Anti-Sexist Forms

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2014.41008    4,987 Downloads   6,223 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

After more than two decades of non-sexist linguistic policies in Spain, a survey was carried out to evaluate the positive or negative attitude of almost 500 students from two Madrid universities to the most controversial verbal forms advocated in Spanish non-sexist linguistic policies: 1) the use of @ (as in alumn@s [students]); 2) the use of dual gender (as in alumnos y alumnas [students- masc and students-fem]); 3) the use of feminine terms for some women’s professional titles and occupations (i.e. ingeniera [engineer-fem], bedela [caretaker-fem], arquitecta [architect-fem], médica [physician-fem], aparejadora [quantity surveyor-fem], gerenta [manager-fem], perita [ex- pert-fem], cancillera* [chancellor-fem]); 4) the use of non-sexed collective nouns (as in profeso- rado [teaching staff]). Our aims were to know to what degree these resources were accepted by highly-educated young people, whether differences exist between the attitudes of men and women with respect to these forms, and which of these uses was the best accepted and which the least. Various examples of these non-sexist uses were presented to university students, who were asked to make a pronouncement on the feeling which these gave them or whether they used them. Our study concluded that the @ symbol and collective nouns are widely accepted among the student community. The dual gender seems to be also accepted, although greater vacillation was seen and sometimes the levels of rejection or indifference are higher. Nevertheless, of the four uses studied, the one which appears to provoke the greatest hesitation, vacillation or even opposition is the use of the feminine for some names of professions. In general, the number of female students in favour of the four features studied exceeds the number of male students.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Bengoechea, M. & Simón, J. (2014). Attitudes of University Students to Some Verbal Anti-Sexist Forms. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 69-90. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.41008.

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