Publication details

Idioms and Gender : Can Language Corpora Tell Us Something about the Gendered Use of Idioms?



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The aim of the talk is to analyse how idioms - their meanings and usage - might be influenced by gender. The influence of gender on idiomatic meaning and usage can be examined in at least three ways: first, at least one of the components of an idiom can be gendered, either directly (e.g. a man of means) or indirectly (e.g. apron strings); second, some idioms may tend to be employed to refer to men rather than women and vice versa; and third, some idioms may be used more often by men than women and vice versa. As pointed out by some researchers (e.g. Skulikowska, 2019), such information remains mostly uncaptured by idiom dictionaries. Moreover, relying on native speakers’ intuitions does not allow us to generalise any findings. Nevertheless, gender differences in the idiomatic use, as well as gender-linked differences in the idiomatic meaning, can be observed by means of language corpora. So far, only scarce attempts to investigate the relationship between the use of idioms and the gender of the users have been made (e.g. Rabinovich, Gonen & Stevenson, 2020). In the presentation, various ways of looking for gender-related patterns of idiomatic meaning and usage in language corpora will be discussed. Additionally, some preliminary findings regarding the gender-linked differences in the use of English idioms will be presented.
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