Capturing socially motivated linguistic change: How the use of gender-fair language affects support for social initiatives in Austria and Poland

Formanowicz, Magdalena M.; Cislak, Aleksandra; Horvath, Lisa K.; Sczesny, Sabine (2015). Capturing socially motivated linguistic change: How the use of gender-fair language affects support for social initiatives in Austria and Poland. Frontiers in psychology, 6(1617), pp. 1-9. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01617

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Gender-fair language consists of the symmetric linguistic treatment of women and men instead of using masculine forms as generics. In this study, we examine how the use of gender-fair language affects readers' support for social initiatives in Poland and Austria. While gender-fair language is relatively novel in Poland, it is well established in Austria. This difference may lead to different perceptions of gender-fair usage in these speech communities. Two studies conducted in Poland investigate whether the evaluation of social initiatives (Study 1: quotas for women on election lists; Study 2: support for women students or students from countries troubled by war) is affected by how female proponents (lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, and academics) are referred to, with masculine forms (traditional) or with feminine forms (modern, gender-fair). Study 3 replicates Study 2 in Austria. Our results indicate that in Poland, gender-fair language has negative connotations and therefore, detrimental effects particularly when used in gender-related contexts. Conversely, in Austria, where gender-fair language has been implemented and used for some time, there are no such negative effects. This pattern of results may inform the discussion about formal policies regulating the use of gender-fair language.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience

UniBE Contributor:

Formanowicz, Magdalena Maria; Horvath, Lisa Kristina and Sczesny, Sabine

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1664-1078

Publisher:

Frontiers Research Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Magdalena Maria Formanowicz

Date Deposited:

11 Nov 2015 13:41

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2016 09:25

Publisher DOI:

10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01617

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73004

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73004

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