A Language Index of Grammatical Gender Dimensions to Study the Impact of Grammatical Gender on the Way We Perceive Women and Men.

Gygax, Pascal Mark; Elmiger, Daniel; Zufferey, Sandrine; Garnham, Alan; Sczesny, Sabine; von Stockhausen, Lisa; Braun, Friederike; Oakhill, Jane (2019). A Language Index of Grammatical Gender Dimensions to Study the Impact of Grammatical Gender on the Way We Perceive Women and Men. Frontiers in psychology, 10, p. 1604. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01604

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Psycholinguistic investigations of the way readers and speakers perceive gender have shown several biases associated with how gender is linguistically realized in language. Although such variations across languages offer interesting grounds for legitimate cross-linguistic comparisons, pertinent characteristics of grammatical systems - especially in terms of their gender asymmetries - have to be clearly identified. In this paper, we present a language index for researchers interested in the effect of grammatical gender on the mental representations of women and men. Our index is based on five main language groups (i.e., grammatical gender languages, languages with a combination of grammatical gender and natural gender, natural gender languages, genderless languages with few traces of grammatical gender and genderless languages) and three sets of specific features (morphology, masculine-male generics and asymmetries). Our index goes beyond existing ones in that it provides specific dimensions relevant to those interested in psychological and sociological impacts of language on the way we perceive women and men. We also offer a critical discussion of any endeavor to classify languages according to grammatical gender.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Zufferey, Sandrine, Sczesny, Sabine


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages




Frontiers Research Foundation




Patrick Roger Flury

Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2020 08:41

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

gender representation grammatical gender index language comparison typology





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