Ze is Better than Hir? A Corpus-based Analysis in Digital News and Magazines
Keywords:Concordance analysis, LGBT pronoun references, NOW Corpus, Corpus linguistics, Discourse analysis
The main aims of this study are to investigate the pronoun references in English news and magazines that are commonly used to refer to LGBT people, and to explore how pronoun references are used in these media towards LGBT people. The first-100 concordance lines were collected through news and magazines globally from the NOW Corpus. The non-gender specific pronouns Ze and Hir were selected and analyzed using descriptive percentage, thematic content analysis and concordance analysis. The findings unveiled that the highest frequencies of pronouns commonly used in news and magazines to refer to non-binary people were Ze (3,627 tokens) and Hir (1,177 tokens), respectively. In addition, there were sub-themes emerging from the concordance lines for the search words referring to LGBT people. The gender-neutral pronoun “Hir” was equally found to be used as a masculine type, a feminine type and a neutral type, while the non-gender specific pronoun “Ze” was found to be more neutral than masculine, without the presence of femininity at all. It is recommended that when using a pronoun to refer to LGBT people, we need to consider the appropriate pronouns, especially in printed media.
Bevik, C. (2013). The assessment of gender pronouns in relation to gender stereotype and sexism (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from https://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/search/publication/4285800.
Bodén, E., & Hammer, S. (2008). Genusstruktur i barnböcker för förskolan. Gender structure in children’s books for preschool (Unpublished bachelor’s thesis). Mälardalen University, Sweden.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Routledge.
Darr, B., & Kibbey, T. (2016). Pronoun and thoughts on neutrality: Gender concerns in modern grammar. Pursuit – The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee, 7(1), 73-75. Retrieved from https://trace.tennessee.edu/pursuit/vol7/iss1/10
Davies, M. (2011). The Corpus of Contemporary American English as the First Reliable Monitor Corpus of English. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 25(1), 447-65. https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqq018
Dijk, V., & Adrianus, T. (2008). Discourse and power. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan
Duncan, J. L. (n.d.). Pronoun reference. Toronto: University of Toronto Scarborough. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/466413817/Pronoun-References-Rules?fbclid=IwAR3fyRAg7mpVPInRjg8o4yt0_ONstceO2hLuu_9mXFMDIYTMbZS-_NK8s_U
Evison, J. (2010). What are the basics of analysing a corpus? In A. O’Keeffe & M. McCarthy (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of corpus linguistics (pp. 122-135). London: Routledge.
Knutson, D., Koch, J. M., & Goldbach, C. (2019). Recommended terminology, pronouns, and documentation for work with transgender and non-binary populations. Practice Innovations, 4(4), 214–224. https://doi.org/10.1037/pri0000098
Lindquist, H. (2009). Corpus linguistics and the description of English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
McGlashan, H., & Fitzpatrick, K. (2018). I use any pronouns, and I’m questioning everything else: Transgender youth and the issue of gender pronouns. Sex Education, 18(3), 239-252. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2017.1419949
Milles, K. (2011). Feminist language planning in Sweden. Current issues in language planning, 12, 21-33. DOI: doi:10.1080/14664208.2011.541388
O'Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Poon, L. (2015, September 28). 'Ze' or 'They'? A Guide to Using Gender-Neutral Pronouns. Bloomberg. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/-ze-or-they-a-guide-to-using-nonbinary-gender-neutral-pronouns
Roxie, M. (2015). Genderqueer and non-binary identities & terminology. Retrieved from https://genderqueerid.com/gq-terms
Spargo, T. (1999). Foucault and queer theory. Cambridge: Icon Books Ltd.
Stewart, D., Renn, K. A., & Brazelton, G. B. (2015). Gender and sexual diversity in U.S. higher education: Contexts and opportunities for LGBTQ college students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Törmä, K. (2018). Collocates of trans, transgender(s) and transsexual(s) in British newspapers: A Corpus-Assisted Critical Discourse Analysis. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1245307&dswid=8006.
Wales, K. (1996). Personal pronoun in present-day English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
World Health Organization. (2013). Gender. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/gender/en/