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SOCIAL SITUATION, AGE AND GENDER ASSIGNMENT TO ENGLISH NOUNS: A STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE

Judith Lee Conboy
Mid-American Review of Sociology
Vol. 3, No. 1 (SPRING 1978), pp. 17-38
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23252492
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
SOCIAL SITUATION, AGE AND GENDER ASSIGNMENT TO ENGLISH NOUNS: A STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE
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Abstract

A series of tests was developed for the purpose of determining the likelihood that individuals would assign gender to: 1) norms when observed and heard individually as a part of a list of words; 2) sets of two norms which reflect definite contrast sets; and 3) groups of three norms which imply the existence of a specific social situation in a particular social institution. Age of the respondent was a significant variable in the assignment of gender. The study was guided by the Whorfian Hypothesis, particularly the idea that grammatical characteristics of language facilitate or make more difficult various nonlinguistic behaviors. Two hundred and fifty-six (256) students were chosen and tested in selected grades of a southwest Missouri school system including a community college. Two fifth grade, two seventh grade, two eleventh grade and two college classes were utilized.

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