Gendered Language in Modern Chinese History Chapitre d’ouvrage - 2024

Coraline Jortay

Coraline Jortay
Coraline Jortay, « Gendered Language in Modern Chinese History  », in Jamie J. Zhao, Hongwei Bao (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Chinese Gender & Sexuality, 2024, pp. 42-55. ISBN 9781032227290


This chapter examines how gendered language became a site of linguistic and socio-political debate in modern Chinese history. In doing so, it discusses how different sites of linguistic gender marking in Mandarin (lexical, morphological, or syntactical) have been deemed problematic by a variety of actors (linguists, translators, feminist activists, etc.) from the eighteenth century up to the present day. Moving through late-Qing missionary linguistics, Republican-era attempts at building a national language, and various feminist critiques of sexism in language in the early PRC, this chapter sheds light on the importance of taking into account Chinese linguistic history for historicizing contemporary debates on gender-inclusive language in global perspectives, in a field where European languages still remain overwhelmingly the focus of inquiry

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