A Comparative Study of Sexism in English and Chinese Language 英汉语言中的性别歧视现象对比研究
外国语学院 英语（应用英语方向） 00000 000 0000 外国语学院 00000 讲师
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A Comparative Study of Sexism in English and Chinese Language 英汉语言中的性别歧视现象对比研究
性别歧视作为一种社会现象普遍存在于东西方文化中。语言是文化的载体，在很 大程度上是文化的一面镜子。英汉语言中的性别歧视现象就是这种文化现象的反映。 虽然英汉两种语言无论从根源上还是从语言本身的构成上来说都是不同的，但两者却 都在性别歧视方面存在相似性。本文旨在从心理，生理，社会和文化等角度探悉该现 象产生的根源，对两种语言中的性别歧视现象进行对比分析，找出相似点与不同处， 旨在逐步消除语言中存在的性别歧视现象，唤醒女性自我意识，从而保障女性的社会 地位。
As a kind of social phenomenon, sexism exists widely in both eastern and western culture. Language is the carrier of culture, in the very great degree is a mirror of the culture. The phenomenon of sexism in English and Chinese languages is the reflection of this cultural phenomenon. This thesis firstly analyses the possible reasons such as psychological, physical, social and cultural reasons hiding behind the existing phenomenon. Then it tries to make a systematic description and comparison of sexism between English and Chinese in lexical, semantic and syntactic aspects, and find out the similarities and differences between them, aims to eliminate sexism in the expectation of deepening people's understanding of sexism in language, rousing women?s awareness of self- conscience in order to ensure their social status and promoting language and social harmony.
Keywords: sexism; English; Chinese; comparative analysis
1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 2. Literature Review ............................................................................................................... 3 2.1 Phenomenon and Influence of Sexism in Language .................................................. 3 2.1.1 Definition of sexism 2.1.2 More about 3 3
2.2 Previous Study on the Sexism in English and Chinese Language ............................. 5 2.2.1 Research on Sexism Abroad 2.2.2 Research on Sexism at Home 5 6
3. Origins of Sexism in English and Chinese Language ........................................................ 7 3.1 Social Factors ............................................................................................................. 7 3.2 Social Psychological Factors ...................................................................................... 8 3.3 Social Physical Factors ............................................................................................... 9 3.4 Cultural Factors .......................................................................................................... 9 4. Similarities of Sexism between Chinese and English ...................................................... 10 4.1 Male-female Word Order.......................................................................................... 10 4.2 Unmarked Masculine but Marked Feminine ............................................................ 10 4.3 Negative Connotations of Female-related Terms ..................................................... 11 5. Differences of Sexism between Chinese and English .................................................. 1111 5.1 Difference in Referring to Nationality...................................................................... 12 5.2 Difference in Job titles .............................................................................................. 12 5.3 English Suffix “-ess” but Chinese Radical “女” ...................................................... 12 6. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 13 Bibliography ......................................................................................................................... 15
Gender and language had been linked in scholarly writings well before the second wave of the Women?s Movement began in the late 1960s and early 1970s (for example, Jespersen 1922, Labov 1966). Further back, popular understandings of gender and language had existed probably for centuries before ?gender and language? was considered worthy of study. Social cultures always put females as appendix of males, and such phenomenon is deeply rooted in social psychology that maintains different sexual psychologies for males and females. The paper mainly focuses on common sexist practices in English and Chinese. Certain features of English and Chinese languages confine women to be inferior and second-class citizens, and confine men to be superior and first-class citizens. Owing to these determinant factors that attribute to a sex-biased language, this commonality is not surprising if one accepts the belief that there is a close relationship between language and society. Name and address, world formation, word order and proverbs, together help to reflect sex stereotype and prove the subordinate status of women. The selection of the paper attributes to two reasons. On the one hand, as a girl, the author pays much attention to the sexism phenomenon in the society, and its unfairness is really offensive. Therefore, the author would like to make a study on sexism, especially sexism in language. It has also been a heated topic among linguists for a long time, especially sociolinguists. On the other hand, sexism in language is actually the reflection of ideological dross, outmoded conventions and bad customs in a particular culture. Sexism in language arises as the result of the influence of certain social and cultural factors on language. It in return has certain influence on people?s mode of thinking, conduct and social culture construction. The prevalence of sexism in language will inevitably have a negative effect on language learners and users, causing misleading barriers in their cognitive development. If we turn a blind eye and take a laissez-faire attitude to it, sexism in language will reinforce people?s sexual prejudice and social inequity, which is harmful to social development and progress. Thereby, it is of great significance to face up to the
problem of sexism in language. This paper includes six sections. Section one is the introduction of the topic----sexism in English and Chinese language. Section two is the main part of the paper, including four parts. Part one is the literature review to influence of sexism in language and previous study on the sexism in English and Chinese language. Part two shows four specific origins of sexism. Part three and part four points the similarities and differences of sexism between Chinese and English respectively. And the last section is the conclusion. This thesis analyses the possible reasons, trying to make a systematic description and comparison of sexism between English and Chinese in lexical, semantic and syntactic aspects, and find out the similarities and differences between them, aims to raise people's especially women?s awareness about theirs status in society, which will fundamentally contribute to eliminating sexism in language in order to ensure their social status and promoting language and social harm
2. Literature Review
As a common phenomenon, sexism exists in language for quite a long time. The whole literature review focuses on three aspects about the sexism in language. They are phenomenon and influence of sexism in language, previous study on the sexism in English and Chinese language and deficiency in study and new visual angle. Among them, previous study is the main part which can be divided into three parts: phenomenon, reasons and possible ways of eliminating sexism in language.
2.1 Phenomenon and Influence of Sexism in Language 2.1.1 Definition of sexism
About the definition of gender discrimination, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English explains the ?Sexism?: “The belief that women are weaker, less intelligent, and less important than men.” (Wang Qiaojie 136) Sexism explains in the Oxford English Dictionary said, “Gender bias or discrimination (especially to women).”Thus, customarily, "sexism" usually refers to the language discrimination to the females. Sexism terminologically can be defined as a set of attitudes and behaviors towards people that judge or belittle them on the basis of their gender. Sexism comes in many different forms, including blatant, covert, and subtle sexism. (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1999) Sexism, in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese dictionary, it?s definition is that disapproving action based on the ideas or belief that the members of one are less intelligent, able, and skillful, etc, than the members of the other, especially that women are less able than men and those particular jobs and actions are suitable for women and others are suitable for men.
2.1.2 More about
For quite a long time in human society, there has been a significant difference between the status of men and women. Men always occupy the dominant position while women are subordinate and controlled by men. They have suffered a lot for a long time. Language is an important ingredient of human society and culture which reflects human's thoughts and
values. Therefore, sexism in society inevitably appears in language. Many linguists have concluded a lot of sexist phenomena existing in language: Muriel R. Schulz(1975) took one of the first steps in relating sexism in language to society and suggested that there did exist a systematic basis to linguistic sexism. According to Schulz, it was no mere coincidence that there were more positive words for males in the language, while there were also more negative words for females with no semantic equivalent for males. Proverbs and idioms are like mirrors which reflect the bias towards
women. Just as English writer Robert Payne(1935)said: "The wisdom of nation lies in their proverbs". As components of the language and products of culture, proverbs and idioms reflect the inequality of men and women. In England, Pellow and Jone(1980)did a research which shows that men display a large proportion of falling tones than rising tones, while women generally use rising tones. It can be concluded that sex exerts great influence in language style. Women tend to use polite and active intonations in their communications which indicates their inferiority. Pan Jian(2001)stated that sexism in both English and Chinese reflects in word formation by affixes and radicals. From the aspect of morality, Xie Jianxin(2000) pointed out that :English and Chinese language culture is partial to men and looks down upon on women. Yang Hongmei(2008)thought that Chinese is used by the largest numbers of people in the world and English is the most widely used language in the world. Both languages reveal sexism, mainly refers to the sexism against women. Language itself is not good or bad, it is people who use it give language social ideas and values. So language is not born with sexism, the sexism in it is the true reappearance of sexism in society which has many bad effects. Li Xingqiao(2008)pointed out that from a macro point of view, sexism in language has a great influence on the normal function of society. Liu Zhihua and Deng Xiaofang(2011)both held the view that sexism in language affects people's social roles. Women can't receive respect and they doubt about their roles in society or even change them which will make the whole society disordered. From the above, we can draw a conclusion that sexism does exist in language and has a great influence on people's values and the function of our society.
2.2 Previous Study on the Sexism
With the development of women?s liberation movement, more and more people pay attention to sexism in both English and Chinese. Many domestic and foreign linguists carry out different researches in this field. They analyze the phenomenon of sexism, physical, social, cultural and other possible reasons comprehensively and put forward proper methods to eliminate the sexism.
2.2.1 Research on Sexism Abroad
Early works in language and gender were carried into execution at a time when women in the western world were the combatant of equality and liberation. Thorne and Henley (1975) rightly pointed out that it was the women?s liberation movement that pushed this field of study into prominence, and created an atmosphere for its acceptance and legitimization. As a result, lots of attention was focused on the sexist bias reflected in the language and the conspicuous social consequences of such a language. Emphasizing men?s dominant position became the most influential theoretical framework in which the gender-language issue was explored, although the title of Thorne and Henley?s (1975) edited volume, Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance already suggested that gender difference should also be an important factor in explaining the issue ahead of their time. Pauwel(1998)in his article writes that, sexism in language can be divided into three parts: first, Male term includes female term; second, in most morphological and semantic aspects, female term ranks in the second place; third, it is only possible for the male term to indicate the female and which in turn is not allowed. Robin Lakoff(1975)also points out that words which describe women?s jobs imply discrimination against women while
words which describe men?s jobs guide people to think about their bright and positive image. Simpson (1993)finds that though many words have no significant signs of discrimination, there does exist sexism against women. When analyzing reasons of sexism in language, Spender (1980) thinks that the main reason is the historical reason. In his mind, women are always limited to housework; they have no chance to deal with information and knowledge which have great influence on language. So the sexism in language is inevitable. Simone de Beauvior (1990)puts in his article Women as Other that social division of labor may be one of the reasons. Because
women?s workload is light and the payments are less, they own less rights and bear more gender discrimination. According to Aitchison (1981)in his books, he writes that "he" should be replaced by he/she, similarly other phrases with sexism should also be substituted if we want to eliminate sexism in language. Rosalie Maggio(1987)points out the fundamental measure is to put women?s status in first place, because if social unfairness still exists, it is
impossible to clear sexism in language. The researches on sexism aboard mainly focus on all levels of grammar of English, the choice and frequency of lexical items. Some researchers also explore situations in which certain syntactic rules are performed, in intonation and other super segmental patterns. The approaches to this kind of researches are very traditional, which resort to linguistic asymmetries. But previous researches are lacks of using linguistic theory to analyze the sexism phenomenon in English.
2.2.2 Research on Sexism at Home
Domestic linguists also carry out a lot of researches on the phenomenon of sexism in English and Chinese. Liu Zhihua, Deng Xiaofang(2011)point out that both English and Chinese language have marks in form, distribution and semantics. When analyzing positive and negative nouns we can see that positive nouns are mostly unmarked, they are common, while negative nouns are marked and they are confined and discriminated. Zhang Liping (2007) discovers the close relationship between appellation and sexism by doing researches on kinship terms, names and social appellations. As for kinship terms, differences between lineal and collateral relatives, consanguinity and affinity have something to do with gender. Names reflect discrimination against women by adding husbands' surnames in front of theirs after their marriages. When comes to social appellations, she points out that there are some absences in them. For example, when we refer to people's occupations, some names can only be used to describe men?s occupations, such as policeman and businessman. Fu Jinxiang (2010)analyzes that as a medium, language itself reveals sexism in word formation, semantic landing and word order, which acknowledges the Indisputable fact that women are inferior to men. In word formation, we usually add affixes which indicate unimportance and inferiority to male words in order to refer to women, such as usherette, actress and heroine. In semantic landing, some words which used to be positive or neuter words, when they refer to women they'll turn to negative words. For example, "a shrew" means a small mouse, but when it refers to a woman, it means "she is a vixen." In word order, female words
always come after male words, such as boys and girls, husband and wife. As for the reasons of sexism in language, Yu Jiupeng, Tan Jiuying (2006)think they should be divided into three parts: biological social view(differences of men and women in character and physical strength and early social labor division ),social cognitive psychology (different thoughts, customs and act principles lead to differences in style of talking)and traditional culture(gender roles and relevant role actions are formed in the process of socialization).From social facts, Wang Ling(2004)holds the view that women?s low social status due to the limitation to houseworks and raising of children must be reflected through language. Domestic linguists hold almost the same view as foreign linguists' of methods to eliminate sexism in language. Fu Jinxiang(2010)analyzes that first we should fix the sensitive word "man". Try to use neuter words to replace words which indicate gender differences. For example, we should substitute "person" for "man". Second to create new words and make them as neuter as possible. Use "singles" to replace with "bachelor", "spinster" or "divorcee". Third try to find more methods to replace the third person singular. Li Jinchen (2006)puts forward some feasibility strategy in the reform of language. He points out in particular that though sexism reflects in language, it roots in social culture and the only way to eliminate it is to raise women?s status. According to the above previous studies, we can gain a better understanding about the phenomenon of sexism, its reasons and possible ways to eliminate it by different researchers. However, these researchers almost focus on one kind of language, they rarely do comprehensive analysis. Therefore, this study chooses the comparison of both languages as an entry point, and does further researches about the phenomenon, roots and elimination strategy of sexism in language.
3. Origins of Sexism in English and Chinese Language
Sexism in language has existed for a long time. The reasons for sexism deeply rooted in history and society. The following parts will do researches separately on four main reasons for sexism: social psychological factors, social physical factors, social factors and cultural factors.
3.1 Social Factors
From the date of birth, society has decided different social roles and social statues for
men and women. For example, we wish a boy to be independent, brave and a strong man, while we hope that a girl can be mild, gentle, kind and to be a a timid, lovable woman in future. The expectation of roles to some extent has great influence on their future life. Marriage means different for men and women. At the same time, the role of husband and the role of wife make them change in different direction. Once get married, women have no choice but to help husbands and teach children. So the only identity of women is wife or mother. Sometimes, when a woman makes great achievements, she will be given the name of superwoman, or suffers isolations in different forms. So no matter in western culture or in eastern culture, marriage affects women more than it affects men. The consequence is that men always play the leading role and women play the supporting role. Men?s social status depends on their careers and is superior to women?s .Women?s social status depends on their families. Women affiliate to their husbands by marriage and change directly with the alteration of husbands' careers and social status. Because of the affiliation in marriage and the good expectation before marriage, it is hard for women to control their fate.
3.2Social Psychological Factors
From ancient times, men have captured the major occupations in society and they are thought of the representatives of authority and power. Therefore, people usually hold the view that only men can make great achievements from psychological prospective. Once a woman makes great achievements in some fields, she will be recognized as a particular case. At the same time, our society makes the language mainly used by men the principle and main part which gives men the feeling that they are superior to women. Women also accept the subordinate position from psychological prospective. For example, in Chinese feudal society, women were asked to obey the principle"三从四德 ".Obviously, the thought that men were in the center and women were affiliated to them has been a national psychology. Thus in the male-dominant society, many women have got used to put themselves into the secondary position. With the thought that men should work hard, many women think that it is men?s job to do business and what they have to do is to take care of the whole family and be the guarantee for husbands and other family members. Therefore, women are willing to do housework and the position of housewife has been determined.
3.3 Social Physical Factors
Some psychologists think that gender behavior of both men and women have something to do with the hormone and environment. The gender difference is the most obvious in social labor division. Through work and life for a long time people gradually recognize that in the aspect of physical factors, men are tall, muscular and strong, while women?s bodies are weak and petite, they have more fat than muscle. In character, men are full of energy and sense of adventure, while women are much gentler, milder and more easygoing. What's more, many researches show that women do better than men in the longtime usage of energy and their persistence is better, too. So women are limited to endless housework while men do some big business outside. Language is invented through people's work. Different labor division has great influence on the usage of language by both men and women without doubt. Differences of character and physical strength and the labor division together decide the difference in the usage of language by people.
3.4 Cultural Factors
Sexism reflects in the form of language but roots in society and culture. Gender roles, gender identity and the relevant role behaviors are completed in the process of social culture. Discrimination language also develops in this process. In many myths all over the world, men are always regarded as the "origin of species" and women are their variants. Though sometimes women are praised as "god of fertility "or "mother of land", they can not escape from the charge of "the root of all evil". Linguists always mention the impact of "Bible" when they trace back to the origin of sexism in English language. In Bible, the first person the God made was a man named Adam. He created the first woman named Eve when Adam needed help by taking out one of Adam's body ribs when he was sleeping. From this we can see that women are the derivatives of men and some female words are called Adam words. In China, discrimination against women also has long history. Confucianism has great influence on Chinese culture which advocates"男尊女卑","男外女内","三从四德".These values and ethical concepts gradually affect people's thoughts and values which results in the sexism in language.
4. Similarities of Sexism between Chinese and English
Although the English-speaking people and the Chinese-speaking people live in different countries, there is something in common with their thinking patterns, treating males as dominant and superior, and females subordinate and inferior. Thus, linguistic sexism in their ideology result in the male representing power, status, superiority and dominance; whereas, the female is affiliated with the male, whose responsibilities are to raise children, do housework, please the male, etc. Both English and Chinese exist in the big human family and they have the same evolution. "The physical structure of the human brain is the same which has no nationality. So the function of brains as well as thoughts also have no nationality all around mankind."(Ye Feishening,1981:23)Both languages have something in common. That is sexism reflects in word invention, word formation as well as in culture, habits and tradition.
4.1 Male-female Word Order
In both Chinese and English, word order embodies the sex-bias against women. Usually, men are given priority and listed before women when men and women are presented together. It is said that it was more natural to put man before woman, for instance, “male and female”, “husband and wife”, “brother and sister”, “son and daughter”. The common male-female patterns in Chinese like “nán nǚ(男女)，fū fù(夫妇)，fù mǔ(父母)， shū shěn(叔婶)，gōng p?(公婆)，xiōng sǎo(兄嫂)， dì m?i(弟妹)，fū gùi qī r?ng(夫 贵妻荣)”. The arrangement of male-female pattern implies that men are superior to women or become a traditional idea in China and the west.
4.2 Unmarked Masculine but Marked Feminine
Either in English or Chinese, masculine words are usually unmarked, while some feminine words are marked. In English, the suffix “-ess” is used to mark some nouns related to female, such as actress, mistress, governess. In Chinese characters, many words related to the female contain the meaning element or radical “nǚ(女)” to mark the female such as “m?i(妹)”(sister), but the word “nán(男)” is not used as a meaning element or radical. The absence of a specific masculine radical in the Chinese writing system leads to a gender asymmetry which is similar to that in English, implying man is norm, for instance, “mankind” equates with human beings in general.
When adding the suffix “-ess” to create other feminine words is impracticable, the creators put the feminine noun to modify the other nouns as a mark. So, if a male takes the position of a professor or scientist, he is referred to as “professor” or “scientist”, whereas, if a female happens to be a professor or scientist, she is marked as “woman professor” or “woman scientist”. Similarly, in Chinese, if a male takes the position of a professor or scientist, he is referred to as “nǚ jiào sh?u(女教授), nǚ kē xu? jiā(女科学家)”.
4.3 Negative Connotations of Female-related Terms
As time passing by, some woman-related word that originally start with neutral or positive connotations turn out to be negative implications both in English and Chinese. For example, the English word “girl” and Chinese character “xiǎo jiě(小姐)” suffer from the process of derogatory sense. In English, originally a girl denoted a child of either sex. By 1530s, “girl” denoted a female child. However, sexual innocence and inexperience in childhood were hidden as the use of defaming girl for prostitute in the 18th Century. “Girl about the town” or “girl of ease” refers to a prostitute. To some extent, “girl” may have lost its earlier negative connotations in contemporary English but it remains the special attitude to a woman as “girl” because it emphasizes on the young, immature and inexperienced. In Chinese, “xiǎo jiě(小姐)” originally denoted a daughter of a rich family. Gradually, the term gained some negative connotations, for instance, “ qiān jīn xiǎo jiě(千金小姐)”， “xi ǎo jiě pí qì(小姐脾气)” “jiāo xiǎo jiě(娇小姐)” “xiǎo jiě zu? fēng(小姐作风)” all denote a woman with a bad temper, delicate or spoiled. “xiǎo jiě(小姐)” has got her bad fame as “prostitute” in the 1990s since China?s reforming and opening up. “zhǎo xiǎo jiě (找小姐)” means to have illicit sex relationship with a prostitute. In some regions of China, it is taboo to call a young woman “xiǎo jiě(小姐)”. But “xiān shēng(先生)” has never got
the same fate as the “xiǎo jiě(小姐)”, which remain the respectable fame all the time.
5. Morphological Differences of Sexism between Chinese and English
Though English and Chinese have similarities in linguistic sexism, there exist some differences in the two languages. English is an inflected language, its morphological change is rich and word formation is flexible. So it uses male words or male affixes to indicate both male and female, or it just uses female suffixes or compounds to constitute negative words and changes the words which used to refer to double genders to refer to male only. While
Chinese is an independent language so it can't be added affixes to differ male from female. Sexism in Chinese word formation occurs by adding feminine radical " nǚ"(女)to words or putting male words in front of female words in order to show that women are inferior to men.
5.1 Difference in Referring to Nationality
Generic “man” used in the words “Frenchman, Englishman, Irishman, Dutchman” in English can refer to both the male and the female, stressing on the dominance and superiority of the male and making the female invisible. The above words are translated into Chinese as “fǎ guō r?n(法国人),yīng guō r?n(英国人),ài ěr lán r?n(爱尔兰人),h? l án r?n(荷兰人)”. Therefore, in Chinese, generic “r?n(人)” includes both male and female with no sexism against the female from the aspect of word formation to the nationality.
5.2 Difference in Job titles
In certain English job titles, masculine noun “man” is used to refer to both males and female, but in this case, we can not find its counterpart in Chinese. There are no such discriminating job titles in Chinese writing system. And when the kind of visible male but both visible and invisible female job titles in English are translated into Chinese, the “man” is either translated into “yuán(员)” or “gōng(工)” or ignored, e.g., sportsman (运动员), repairman (修理工), policeman (警察). So, there is no obvious sexism against the female in word formation of Chinese characters.
5.3 English Suffix “-ess” but Chinese Radical “女”
The English writing is word-phonemic with 26 letters forming myriads of vocabulary, whereas, the Chinese character is ideographic character based on pictograph and ideograph, giving more concept of the meaning of the word rather than its sound. Thus, there exist differences in the word formation of English and Chinese. In English, female words are marked by adding the suffix “-ess”, or putting “woman, lady, female” in front of certain nouns, e.g., actor/ actress, doctor/ woman doctor. What is more, “-ess” is a powerful feminine and also conventional suffix. It is added to a masculine or neutral noun to form feminine words. However, according to Schulz (1975), many professions ending with “-ess” have the connotation of derogation, superficial and contemptuous. Compared with the social roles of “manager” and “poet”, “manageress” and “poetess” have negative connotations and are presented to be less significant than that of men. Exactly speaking, “manageress” can be used as the female manager of a laundry or
cake shop, but cannot be used to refer to the female manager of a bank or a cross-national corporation. In Chinese, many words related to female comprise of the radical “女” and other characters, e.g., 姐（sister）, and more derogatory words are formed by putting the radical “女”, reinforcing the superiority of the male and the inferiority of the female, e.g., 娼 （have illicit relationship with a married person）.
This thesis studies the sexism of language in English and Chinese. It begins by different gender performances between English and Chinese and reviewing previous researches on gender language both at home and abroad. From the paper, the writer can draw the conclusion that there is no doubt about discrimination against women in English and Chinese. As a matter of fact, this discrimination against women exists not only in English and Chinese but also other languages. Therefore, sexism is a world phenomenon. However, since English and Chinese have different language systems and have been established and developed in different geographical and historical frameworks, the way in which sexism exposures itself is different. This explains language diversity. English is an inflecting language and Chinese is an isolating or monosyllabic language. English language emphasizes on inflections, so explicit grammatical signs are larger in number than in Chinese. While in Chinese, the whole grammar depends on word position and meaning. English-speaking people use formal and complex structure to express themselves, whereas Chinese speakers focus mainly on meaning to make sure that the intended meaning is conveyed. From the analysis in the above chapters, we can know: Firstly, the paper has given an analysis of sexism in both English and Chinese languages form the view of naming and addressing, word formation, collocation, proverbs and idioms. For instance, in the aspects of honorific titles, family names and professional titles in English is quite anomalous, which is the unfair reflection to women in the social status which treat males as the advantage sex and dominant human beings in the universe. This phenomenon can also be vividly reflected in Chinese in the same way. Secondly, the paper makes a comparison to the similarities and differences in the two
languages. Only when we had a better understanding of the reasons could we eliminate sexism ultimately. Origins can be divided into four parts: social psychological factors, social physical factors, social factors and cultural factors. These reasons provide certain evidences for the long existence of sexism in language and lay foundations for suggestions to eliminate them. The thesis also makes a comparison to the similarities and differences in the two languages. The similarities of English and Chinese languages exist in male-female word order, unmarked masculine but marked feminine and negative connotations of female-related terms, and their differences perform in the referring to nationality, job titles and English suffix “-ess” but Chinese radical “女”. As this is a qualitative analysis of sexism phenomenon between English and Chinese languages, most of the conclusions are quite subjective. Besides, English and Chinese are two complicated language systems, it is difficult to focus on one topic and compare Chinese and English from overall view. Therefore, the research of the paper is not very perfect and there is a great deal to be done in this area. The author hope that a perfect future theoretical framework of sex discrimination means of investigation should be established to collect all language including sex discrimination and to give more detailed explanations to the sexism phenomenon. As language develops closely with the custom of a country and a region, as well as its historical background, for a long historical process, it is not easy to change the thinking set. Only with the overall development and progress of the society as well as the increasing awareness of sexual equality for women, do the women gain their equal power in language. And then sexism in language will finally retreat from the arena of history.
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