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How To Persuade People of Gender Equality in Language: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Tildelt: kr 91 000






2012 - 2012

Gender-inclusive language is a milestone in achieving gender equality. It proclaims feminization (using masculine and feminine terms) and neutralization (using neutral terms) to refer to both genders instead of using masculine personal nouns, since the ge neric use of masculine terms results in a cognitive male bias in various languages. In contrast to the empirical results and the efforts to promote it, gender-inclusive language is often rejected in everyday live. To investigate the rejection of gender-i nclusive language, socialpsychological persuasion theories, e.g. the Elaboration Likelihood Model, are helpful. Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic comparisons between Norway (Bokmål) and Switzerland (German) promise very interesting insights into how to achieve more gender equality in language by feminization or neutralization and into the impact of negative media coverage. The main aim of this project is to investigate the quality of persuasive arguments on gender-inclusive language and their influence on attitudes and behaviour. In Study 1 we will classify arguments for gender-inclusive and generic language use regarding their persuasiveness, content and the agreement of the participants in each country. In Study 2 we will examine whether people get p ersuaded to the respective position, when they read a message containing persuasive arguments for gender-inclusive vs. generic language use. We assume less positive attitude towards and less use of gender-inclusive language initially in Switzerland than i n Norway because of the negative Swiss media coverage and the complex use in German. The proposed research will contribute to a deeper understanding of a barrier to gender equality, i.e. rare use of and negative attitude towards gender-inclusive language . It will provide possible ways to enhance the positive attitude towards gender-inclusive language and encourage more frequent use of it.