English Today

Original Article

Still a gender-biased language?

Jenny Cheshire


Starts with excerpt from Jenny Cheshire, A question of masculine bias? (ET1, 1985). The author says; My 1985 article ended on an upbeat note, confidently predicting that as more people take care to remove masculine bias from their own English, so the language will gradually stop distorting our perceptions of women. The twenty-two years that have passed represent pretty much a generation of speakers, making this a good time to consider whether or not my confidence was misplaced. How successful have language reforms been?


Jenny Cheshire is Professor of Linguistics at Queen Mary, University of London.