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A study on the acceptance of gender-equal language from a psycholinguistic perspective

The Gender Star


This study documents the influence of gendered language on language processing. Within the framework of an online psycholinguistic experiment, a sentence continuation paradigm (Gygax et al. 2008) was used to investigate whether the use of the gender star represents an adequate language alternative to the generic masculine. For this purpose, 36 experimental passages have been created, where the first sentence introduces a group of people using a role name in the plural form, and the second sentence concretized that there are some (but not exclusively) men or women in the group. Stereotypical knowledge in the form of jobs (e.g., Chirurgen, Politiker, Schauspieler) or leisure activities (e.g., Fußballfan) describing characteristics of a person or group of people was included, as was spelling (generic masculine or gender star). Special interest was paid to whether more positive judgments followed a gender star first sentence with a female continuation and, furthermore, whether faster reaction times were recorded in this scenario, since women are better represented mentally with a gender-appropriate wording alternative.

The recording documents include subjectively queried acceptability regarding a possible continuation from first to second sentence and implicitly recorded reaction time for a sample of N = 296 subjects. The experimental task was embedded in a survey that additionally collected person-related data (age, gender identity, educational degree, place of residence).

Core team

Tobias Nowak

Cite as

Nowak, Tobias 2022. The gender star: A study on the acceptance of gender-equal language from a psycholinguistic perspective. Data Center for the Humanities. https://doi.org/10.18716/dch/a.00000003

Archive Information

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18716/dch/a.00000003
Date of the archival: 2022-03-21 12:32
Size of the package: 3.32 MB
Contact Name: Felix Rau (DCH) -