Are there signs of change in gendered language use in children’s early reading vocabulary?

Authors

  • Franziska Moser Freie Universität Berlin
  • Jackie Masterson University of London

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v8i1.71

Keywords:

gender, language, social development, gender schema, gender roles

Abstract

In this study we investigate the relative frequencies of female and male terms in early reading material for children using the Children’s Printed Word Database as a resource. As roles of females and males have changed over time it is of interest to see if there has been a corresponding change in representations of females and males in children’s books. We carried out analyses regarding different words related to gender. Except for nouns referring to relatives, we found in all word groups a preponderance of male terms. The imbalance of male and female pronouns is equivalent to that reported by Carroll, Davies, and Richman (1971) in a frequency count of printed words in children’s book in the USA conducted some 40 years ago. The results are discussed in terms of gender inequality in reading materials and the development of social mores and stereotypical ideas.

Author Biographies

Franziska Moser, Freie Universität Berlin

Franziska Moser studied Psychology at the University of Bern. She was a Marie Curie fellow of the Initial Training Network ‘Language, Cognition, and Gender’ (www.itn-lcg.eu) and finished her PhD in psychology on gender fairness in educational material and individual language use at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests are in gender stereotypes, gender roles, developmental and educational psychology and language development.

Jackie Masterson, University of London

Jackie Masterson is Professor of Psychology of Reading at the Institute of Education, London. Her research interests are in literacy development and difficulties, cross-linguistic investigations of reading and spelling, and object and action naming and representation. She has been involved in developing a number of resources for research and educational practice, including the Children’s Printed Word Database, the Single Word Spelling Test, An Object and Action Naming Battery and the Diagnostic Test of Word Reading Processes. She has also been carrying out research into effective interventions for reading and spelling difficulties with children and adults.

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Published

2014-03-17

How to Cite

Moser, F., & Masterson, J. (2014). Are there signs of change in gendered language use in children’s early reading vocabulary?. Gender and Language, 8(1), 71–90. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v8i1.71

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Articles