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How Gender Shapes the World$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723752.001.0001

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The images of gender

The images of gender

(p.120) 8 The images of gender
How Gender Shapes the World

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

The meanings of Linguistic Genders mirror myths and beliefs. Linguistic Genders are a rich source of poetic metaphors. The choices of the Linguistic Gender may reflect the ways in which men and women are seen and behave—in their Natural and Social Gender guises. But there is no reason to believe that the overtones of Natural and Social Gender are always projected onto every Linguistic Gender choice. Taken to its extreme (and coupled with quasi-scientific experiments), any attempt to find a perfect one-to-one correspondence between the Linguistic Gender, Social Gender, and Natural Gender verges on the grotesque. Having Linguistic Gender in a language opens up an avenue for metaphors—deployed in poetry, beliefs, and images. Properties of men and of women—as seen in adjectives and other expressions associated with them—reflect stereotypes of Social Gender.

Keywords:   Linguistic Gender, Social Gender, myth-and-belief, metaphor, cognition, experimental approach

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