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  • Is English sexist? I'm serious! Look, take the phrase 'man up'. This is a phrasal verb

  • that we use to tell someone to be brave, to get over the difficulty that's in front of

  • them. To man up. It's not to woman up, it's to man up. But why can't it be to woman up? Women

  • are brave, there's as brave as men are, so why don't we use to woman up. So this got

  • me thinking how sexist is the English language? We're going to find out right after this.

  • These days there is a lot in the media about gender equality and how male and female roles

  • are being represented. Certainly you look at the #MeToo movement and the film industry

  • to see that it's a big issue right now. And that got me thinking about English and the

  • language we use and have we updated the vocabulary that we use to accurately represent who we

  • are and the society that we live in. Now we have talked about the phrase man up, let's

  • look at other examples. Take the word 'to nag' or 'nagging'. It means to criticise or

  • complain in an annoying way. Now I had a look at the definitions in three dictionaries.

  • Cambridge, Oxford and Collins and in all three it was the female that was doing the nagging.

  • Now in their defence I'm sure they would say that they are just representing how the word

  • is used in real life. So maybe this is a societal problem rather than an English language problem

  • but it is interesting to see these patterns. Because this is true of other words with negative

  • connotations as well. Ok, let's take the words spinster and bachelor. They both mean someone

  • that is unmarried. A spinster is a female that's unmarried and a bachelor is a male

  • that's unmarried. Now the word bachelor, if you put it into the dictionary, an immediate

  • collocation you'll find it 'eligible bachelor' someone that's available, that is attractive.

  • There are top hundred lists of the most eligible bachelors. It's a desirable person. Do the

  • same thing with spinster and you get a much more negative connotation. You could be a

  • forty year old man and a forty year old female unmarried, one is a bachelor, one is a spinster.

  • One has positive connotation, one has a negative connotation. So is this language being influenced

  • by society or society being influenced by language? Now I may be wrong with the connotations

  • there but I have yet to see a hundred eligible spinsters in Vogue magazine. That's all I'm

  • saying, I've seen eligible bachelors I haven't seen eligible spinsters yet. You also only

  • have to look at the rudest words in English which I'm not going to say on Eat Sleep Dream

  • English. But the rudest words you can think of in English are slang words for female body

  • parts. It's not male body parts, it's female body parts. What does that tell you about

  • how society sees the different genders? Now it's not all doom and gloom, don't get me

  • wrong. There have been lots of changes to the English language because English is a

  • fluid ever changing and evolving thing and a lot of these words have changed in my life.

  • When I was growing up there were a lot of words we used that we don't use now. I think

  • something really important for you guys to know now is that we often use gender neutral

  • words. In the past we'd use gender phrases. So for example 'air hostess'. We now don't

  • use the term air hostess, we prefer to use flight attendant. And a flight attendant could

  • be a male or a female. Take male nurse, male nurse suggests that it's a man that's a nurse

  • but in actual fact nurse can be male or female so that's the term we use now. We just say

  • nurse and that could be male or female. When I was at school it was the headmaster and

  • a headmistress that is now gone. We just say head teacher. So it could be male or female.

  • Same with chairman, it's now chairperson. Policeman, we don't say policeman anymore,

  • we say police officer. Again that's taking the gender out of the word, so it could be

  • male or female. Police officer. Fireman is now fire fighter. We used to say mankind,

  • talking about all humans now we'd say human kind. Perhaps the biggest difference from

  • when I was growing up was actress, that's now much more rarely used and the preferred

  • term is actor So whether it's male or female you are much more likely now to hear the word

  • an actor rather than actress. So actor could be male or female. Now you'll notice there

  • the -ess suffix on the end of those words, that shows you that it's a female word. Some

  • still exist so for example princess, we still use that word. Alright another example was

  • instead of barman, it's bar tender or bar staff. I remember growing up we had weather

  • girls, that seems so old fashioned now. So it would be a weather presenter. Now sometimes

  • we are not sure about the gender of somebody and we don't want to say he or she. 'Did you

  • go to the doctor, what did (mmm) say?' Now mmm what's there? Now I don't know if the

  • doctor is male or female. So I can't say 'what did he say?' because it might not be a man.

  • I can't say 'what did she say?' because I don't know if she's a woman so what can I

  • say? Well, options are you could say 'what did he or she say?' Or you could use the neutral

  • 'what did they say?' Now I know it sounds like it's more than one person but we actually

  • use it in a singular way to talk about a gender neutral person. So 'what did they say?' He

  • or she, we don't know. Another example, 'How's your new housemate. What's he or she like?'

  • 'How's your new flatmate, what are they like?' So we are using they, sounds like a plural

  • but actually we are talking about a singular thing. So what are they like? So Eat Sleep

  • Dreamers it's really important for you guys to update your English. Make sure you are

  • using the words that are now much more common and accepted in English. I know this is a

  • very cultural thing but it's something you need to be aware of when you are learning

  • English and particularly British English. Alright guys I hope you enjoyed that one,

  • I think it's a really interesting topic and it's one for a lot of discussion. Obviously

  • it's a very sensitive topic and one that we must treat very carefully. So I hope it's

  • got you thinking about what kind of vocabulary you use in your English and the choices you

  • make to express your ideas. Let me know in the comments below what you think and of course

  • give me a big thumbs up if you have enjoyed it, if you found it useful in any way. Remember

  • I've got new videos every Tuesday and every Friday helping you take your English to the

  • next level. Check me out on Instagram, check me out on Instagram stories where I post daily

  • updates for your English and of course on Facebook as well. But until next time guys,

  • this is Tom the Chief Dreamer, saying goodbye.

Is English sexist? I'm serious! Look, take the phrase 'man up'. This is a phrasal verb


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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日