Poster Title

Droga Pani Ministro: The Grammaticality of Polish Feminization and its Social Reception

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

The issue of creating feminine forms for title and occupation nouns has plagued many gendered languages as more women have become active in traditionally male sectors of the workforce. 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 modern 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 derivational (and in some cases inflectional) processes taking place to create new feminine forms in contemporary modern 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 actually used in contemporary modern Polish.

We built our corpus based on the idea that due to semantic factors involved in the process of feminization, there would be differing levels of usage and acceptance 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 societal shift in Poland towards wider acceptance of feminized form into the lexicon, with considerable potential for further research into this process of acceptance.

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Droga Pani Ministro: The Grammaticality of Polish Feminization and its Social Reception

The issue of creating feminine forms for title and occupation nouns has plagued many gendered languages as more women have become active in traditionally male sectors of the workforce. 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 modern 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 derivational (and in some cases inflectional) processes taking place to create new feminine forms in contemporary modern 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 actually used in contemporary modern Polish.

We built our corpus based on the idea that due to semantic factors involved in the process of feminization, there would be differing levels of usage and acceptance 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 societal shift in Poland towards wider acceptance of feminized form into the lexicon, with considerable potential for further research into this process of acceptance.