Poster Title

Droga Pani Ministro: Grammatical and Semantic Challenges of Feminine Professional Titles in an Evolving Social Context.

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Linguistics

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

75

KY Senate District #

13

Department

Department of Linguistics

Abstract

As more women have become active in traditionally male sectors of the workforce, languages with gender marking have been faced with the accompanying need for feminine professional titles for these occupations. Historically, academic discussion of the subject in Poland has focused primarily on the linguistic theory behind the phenomenon. This has begun to change in recent years, with the appearance of more studies of word-formation and usage by contemporary speakers. The goal of this project was firstly, to investigate the acceptance of new feminine forms of titles and occupations as grammatical in contemporary standard Polish.

In this project, we sought to address the morphological, phonological, and above all semantic, motivators in the acceptance of feminine forms. We began with a thorough review of the existing literature on the subject, both theoretical and empirical. We then defined the morphological processes taking place to create new feminine forms in contemporary standard Polish. Finally, we conducted a study, in which, by building a corpus of data from a range of digital sources, we sought to quantify how and how often new feminized forms are used in contemporary standard Polish.

We built our corpus around the idea that due to semantic factors involved in the process of feminization, there would be differing levels of usage depending on the formality register of the source text. For this reason, we collected data from three online sources, which we believe are conducive to different formality registers (informal – Twitter, semi-formal – “Wysokie Obcasy” women’s magazine, formal – necrologies). This data was then analyzed for what forms appeared (types) and with what frequency (tokens).

Preliminary results indicate an ongoing gradual shift in Poland towards wider acceptance of some variants of feminizations, with considerable potential for further research as the phenomenon continues to follow the trends of an ever-evolving social landscape.

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Droga Pani Ministro: Grammatical and Semantic Challenges of Feminine Professional Titles in an Evolving Social Context.

As more women have become active in traditionally male sectors of the workforce, languages with gender marking have been faced with the accompanying need for feminine professional titles for these occupations. Historically, academic discussion of the subject in Poland has focused primarily on the linguistic theory behind the phenomenon. This has begun to change in recent years, with the appearance of more studies of word-formation and usage by contemporary speakers. The goal of this project was firstly, to investigate the acceptance of new feminine forms of titles and occupations as grammatical in contemporary standard Polish.

In this project, we sought to address the morphological, phonological, and above all semantic, motivators in the acceptance of feminine forms. We began with a thorough review of the existing literature on the subject, both theoretical and empirical. We then defined the morphological processes taking place to create new feminine forms in contemporary standard Polish. Finally, we conducted a study, in which, by building a corpus of data from a range of digital sources, we sought to quantify how and how often new feminized forms are used in contemporary standard Polish.

We built our corpus around the idea that due to semantic factors involved in the process of feminization, there would be differing levels of usage depending on the formality register of the source text. For this reason, we collected data from three online sources, which we believe are conducive to different formality registers (informal – Twitter, semi-formal – “Wysokie Obcasy” women’s magazine, formal – necrologies). This data was then analyzed for what forms appeared (types) and with what frequency (tokens).

Preliminary results indicate an ongoing gradual shift in Poland towards wider acceptance of some variants of feminizations, with considerable potential for further research as the phenomenon continues to follow the trends of an ever-evolving social landscape.