Epicene pronouns in intermediate to advanced EFL writing

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Sammanfattning

Since the second wave of feminism, non-sexist language use has become an increasingly important topic. A key issue in English is the choice of epicene pronouns, i.e. pronouns that refer to both sexes. Despite the global nature of English, little research has addressed this topic in EFL contexts. This study examines the use of the epicene pronouns he, he or she, and they in two L1 and L2 corpora of student writing. The corpus analyses show that, overall, the L2 English speakers use he significantly more than the L1 speakers, whereas the L1 speakers use they more. Variation found in the L2 subcorpora seems to be partly related to L1 influence: The writers who use he the most are speakers of gendered L1s with a traditional practice of masculine generics. The study also shows that both L1 and L2 writers are affected by the antecedent type in their pronoun choice.

OriginalspråkOdefinierat/okänt
Sidor (från-till)1–22
TidskriftInternational Journal of Learner Corpus Research
Volym4
Utgåva1
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 2018
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

Nyckelord

  • advanced EFL writing
  • epicene pronouns
  • singular they
  • gender-inclusive language

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