Gender Doublets as a Mark of Gender Inclusive Language: An Experimental Study on Language Processing

Laura Nadal, Antonella Bove


Over the last decades, gender inclusive language has become a debated issue in which two opposing positions hardly reach a meeting point: those who believe that the masculine plural form for groups of people can be interpreted as neutral, unmarked and inclusive of both biological sexes compared to those who claim that the generic masculine is a sexist use of language, while the gender doublet forms (los políticos y políticas) are alternatives that offer greater visibility to women. The purpose of our study is to contribute to this debate by means of objective data obtained out of experimental linguistics. In this context, an eyetracking experiment was carried out with 88 native speakers of Spanish at the National University of Colombia, with the aim of testing whether one of the first alternatives proposed as an inclusive language strategy, that is gender doublet, affects the cognitive efforts required to process written sentences. The results show that gender desinences significantly affect the cognitive effort required by readers during the information retrieval phase.

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Copyright (c) 2024 Laura Nadal, Antonella Bove

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