Article published in:The Pragmatics of Personal Pronouns
Edited by Laure Gardelle and Sandrine Sorlin
[Studies in Language Companion Series 171] 2015
► pp. 69–92
Chapter 4. Sex-indefinite references to human beings in American English
Effective uses and pragmatic interferences. A case study of your child
This paper contributes to the study of effective uses of gender-inclusive pronouns in American English, following the proscription of systematic he and, sometimes, of they, with morphologically singular sex-indefinite antecedents. While a number of studies start from the sex-indefinite anaphors in a corpus, the present paper takes the antecedent as a starting point, for additional results. It focuses on the phrase your child, in COCA and COHA. The masculine is found to remain the default gender compared to the feminine; neutralisation appears more successful than feminisation; degree of individuation (Newman 1998) is confirmed as a relevant linguistic contribution of the pronouns, though it cannot always be predicted from the sole context; finally, the paper warns against potential interferences between gender-inclusive strategies and fundamental anaphora processing mechanisms.
Published online: 10 November 2015
Cited by 1 other publications
Gardelle, Laure & Sandrine Sorlin
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