PERCEPTIONS OF THE USE OF GENERIC MASCULINE IN SPANISH BY STUDENTS OF SPANISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO A SEXIST USE OF THE LANGUAGE.
Sanchez, Esteban Gomez
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The aim of this study was to understand both the effects that the use of the masculine generic and the use of gender-fair language have on students of Spanish as a second language. Its purpose was not only to answer the question whether students of Spanish as a second language are aware of the masculine generic and the effects its use can have in the creation of images but also to create new approaches to the teaching and the use of it in classes of Spanish as a second language. The sample of the study consisted of 40 students (32 women and 8 men), who at the time of the study were enrolled at a small private Midwestern liberal arts college. The participants were asked to read two unfinished sentences, which included the use of masculine generic, neutral form, dual form or alternative form, and write a brief story to continue the sentence. In each of these stories, participants were asked to include protagonists in their stories and name them with Spanish names. Afterwards, participants had to complete Mark’s (1973) questionnaire assessing imaging ability. The results were analyzed using a Chi Square test with a level of significance of 0.10. The results support findings in previous research, confirming that the use of the masculine generic does not only evoke male imagery but also, that students of Spanish as a second language are not aware of the generic value of the masculine generic.
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