Language and Reality Beyond Gender

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From the pronouns we use to describe our friends, to masculinization or feminization of abstract nouns, gender is undoubtedly a concept buried deeply into the structure of many languages. Yet, some languages have evolved to incorporate it more than others. In this article, Tamar Kricheli Katz and Tali Regev demonstrate the pernicious effects that gendered languages have, and how a movement towards gender neutrality might alleviate some of these problems.  Many are aware that languages spoken around the world vary according to how speakers are required to indicate gender grammatically. In gendered languages such as French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew, the parts of speech—pronouns, nouns, adjectives, and/or verbs —have feminine and masculine forms. These forms of speech, which refer to one gender exclusively, are used more frequently in gendered languages than in gender-neutral languages.With most gendered languages, the grammatical rule is to use the masculine form of the language as th…

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