Language and women's place with special reference to Arabic

Hassan R.S. Abd-el-Jawad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Our use and choice of language is often determined by the thoughts, ideologies, values and attitudes we would like to express. For example, a society's beliefs about and attitudes toward the sexes are often reflected in the way language is used to speak about men and women. The underlying social and cultural assumptions (which in patriarchal societies may reflect the view of men) seem to be that women are viewed as marginal, weak, powerless and dependent upon men. This is often realized linguistically. Speech about women implies an inferior sexual object and probably a taboo which requires at times euphemism. All in all, the social and cultural inequalities between men and women are reflected in language producing what we may refer to as sexually-biased language. In this paper, aspects of naming conventions and terms of reference and address common in Jordan are investigated. These linguistic features exhibit a certain amount of pro-male and anti-female bias and the dominant social and cultural values and beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-324
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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