Publication details [#67438]

Motschenbacher, Heiko. 2013. Gentlemen before ladies? A corpus-based study of conjunct order in personal binomials. Journal of English Linguistics 41 (3) : 212–242.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject


The present study focuses on word order patterns in English personal binomials and argues that conjunct order in this binomial type is partly subject to other factors than those shown in earlier research on binomials in general. On the theoretical level, mixed-gender personal binomials are discussed as linguistic instantiations of dominance and difference thinking in relation to gender. On the empirical level, the article presents an in-depth study of personal binomials in the written component of the BNC. The factor with the highest impact on conjunct order is found to be lexical gender. Moreover, the modifying influence of a range of other factors is tested. Among these are factors that have proven relevant in earlier research on word order in binomials (phonology, orthography, conjunct frequency) as well as factors that have so far not or only sporadically been tested (lexical field, morphology, sex of author, target audience sex). Finally, the findings are related to more recent theoretical discussions of the relationship between language and gender.