Avoiding sexist language for publication in America

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Nina Collins

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I live in England, and am conducting research in ancient Jewish and Christian history. I have been told that my language is sexist, and I must change it, if my work is to be read in America. I was astonished, as I was not aware that I wrote in a sexist way. What advice can you give? What kind of things should I look out for, and change?
 
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Jaskin

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hi,

I wonder if it is possible not to be sexist when you do research in the New Testament.

Cheers;
 

emsr2d2

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I live in England, and am condiucting research in the New Testament. I have been told that my lanugage is sexist, and I must change it if my work is to be read in America. I was astonished, as I was not aware that I wrote in a sexist way. What advice can you give? What kind of things should I look out for and change?

Out of curiosity, did they identify specific passages where they believe you are being sexist? If so, could you post just one or two here so we can see what you're up against?!
 

Allen165

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I have an off-topic question that relates to this thread. Nina wrote:

"I live in England, and am conducting research in ancient Jewish and Christian history."

I would've written "on ancient Jewish and Christian history." Usually one does reaserch on something, not in something. Is it common in England to use the preposition "in" instead of "on"?

Thanks.
 

emsr2d2

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I have an off-topic question that relates to this thread. Nina wrote:

"I live in England, and am conducting research in ancient Jewish and Christian history."

I would've written "on ancient Jewish and Christian history." Usually one does reaserch on something, not in something. Is it common in England to use the preposition "in" instead of "on"?

Thanks.

I would say either "research on" or "research into" but not "in".
 

SoothingDave

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I live in England, and am conducting research in ancient Jewish and Christian history. I have been told that my language is sexist, and I must change it, if my work is to be read in America. I was astonished, as I was not aware that I wrote in a sexist way. What advice can you give? What kind of things should I look out for, and change?

Some people who make a career out of finding offense where none is intended feign such offense at the use of masculine pronouns and references when the sentences could refer to both sexes.

Humor them by throwing in a "his or her" for "his" and other such nonsense.

Likewise, words like "chairman" become "chairperson" or just "chair." "Firemen" are "fire fighters."
 

Heterological

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Are pronouns the issue? It is considered grammatically correct to use singular masculine pronouns when the gender of the person is unknown or unspecified. For example, "an employee requesting a raise must speak to his direct supervisor first." (The employee may be male or female, but given the ambiguity, it is correct to use "his.") This has become controversial recently, as many people feel it is sexist. I don't disagree. The current favored usage is to replace "his" with "his or hers," but this gets clunky and tedious after a while. My advice is to try to make the subject plural whenever possible, so the gender-neutral "they/their/theirs" can be used, i.e. "employees requesting a raise must speak to their direct supervisors first." Many people feel that the plural pronouns should be used when the gender is unknown, even if the subject is singular, i.e. "an employee requesting a raise must speak to their direct supervisor first." This is currently considered incorrect grammar, but the rules may change. It grates on my ears, but I suppose I could get used to it.
 
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