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性别歧视语言

近年来英文所经历的一项社会语言学变化就是过去曾经符合规范的特定类型用语及措辞,如今却被视为性别歧视语言。具有代表性的例子包括,以 man 表示 人、人类或人性的意思,以及使用阳性第三人称代词 he、him 及 his 指代未明确性别的个人。我将利用以下例句说明如何避免这类典型的问题用语。

  1. Man is a creature of habit.
    (1) Humans are creatures of habit.
  2. When a scientist makes a surprising discovery, the first thing he should do is to check his work.
    (2) When a scientist makes a surprising discovery, the first thing they should do is to check their work.

如例句(2)所示,复数第三人称代名词(they、them 及 their)用来指代未明确性别的个人时,可当作单数名词使用。事实上,这并不是最近才发生的变化,而且多年来一直被认定为正确用法1

以下补充一些被部分人士视为性别歧视用语的范例,以及其常见的替代用法:mankind (humanity);stewardess 及 steward (flight attendant);fireman (firefighter);policeman 及 policewoman (police officer);housewife (homemaker);manmade (artificial、synthetic、manufactured);manpower (workers、workforce、human resources、human capital);chairman (chairperson);actress 及 actor (actor)。

如需了解更深入的讨论内容,请参考:
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/style-and-editing/unbiased-language
及其参考文献。


1关于这一点的讨论,请参考 Dictionary.com 网站中 they 条目所附的 Usage note (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/they?s=t)。

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