_____Women and the English Language____
Our annual theme this year, inspired by the British centenary of votes for women, will address a range of issues connected with the portrayal and representation of women in the English language. We shall also look at the influence of gender within the language itself, considering such grammatical constructs as: agent nouns, grammatical gender in Old English, today's neutral gender, and Genderlect. Finally we shall examine sexually charged language, and women writers from Julian of Norwich to J K Rowling (or should that be Robert Galbraith?). We shall organise events and publish a series of monthly short essays which aim to raise ideas, ask questions and seek the involvement of others.
Welcome to The English Project
The English Project promotes awareness and understanding of the unfolding global story of the English language in all its varieties – past, present and future. We try to present ideas about English in an intelligent, entertaining, inclusive and interactive way. Our hope is that a greater understanding and enjoyment of English can enrich people’s lives and enable them to make more of the exceptional cultural and communications phenomenon which English has become. We intend to reach a broadly-based audience, globally, socially, ethnically and by age amongst English’s two billion speakers worldwide (that's as a first or second language).
Agent Noun: ‘a noun (in English typically one ending in -er or -or) denoting someone or something that performs the action of a verb, as worker, accelerator, etc.’ [OED]
When we hear or read the words printer and speaker and runner, do we think of a woman or a man? The word allows us to think of either, but, in practice, we may find ourselves thinking of a man. To say that we are thinking may not be accurate. We may be engaging one of the short cuts of fast speech since we have to decode what we hear as fast as speakers encode what they say.
On 17 March 2018, a headline on the front page of The New York Times read: ‘Draw a Leader. What’s She Like? Trick Question?’ ... READ MORE