Personality traits, adjectives and gender

integrating corpus linguistic and psychological approaches

Authors

  • Heiko Motschenbacher Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Eka Roivainen Oulu University Hospital

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jld.40370

Keywords:

adjectives, personality traits, gendering mechanisms, corpus linguistics, psychology, trait desirability

Abstract

There have been linguistic studies on the gendering mechanisms of adjectives and psychological studies on the relationship between personality traits and gender, but the two fields have never entered into a dialogue on these issues. This article seeks to address this gap by presenting an interdisciplinary study that explores the gendering mechanisms associated with personality traits and personality trait-denoting adjectives. The findings of earlier work in this area and basic gendering mechanisms relevant to adjectives and personality traits are outlined. This is followed by a linguistic and a psychological analysis of the usage patterns of a set of personality trait adjectives. The linguistic section draws on corpus linguistics to explore the distribution of these adjectives with female, male and gender-neutral personal nouns in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. The psychological analysis relates the usage frequencies of personality trait adjectives with the nouns man, woman and person in the Google Books corpus to desirability ratings of the adjectives.

Author Biographies

Heiko Motschenbacher, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Heiko Motschenbacher is Full Professor of English as a Second/Foreign Language at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, and General Editor of the Journal of Language and Sexuality. His research covers areas such as language, gender and sexuality, corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, English as a lingua franca, and inclusion in English language teaching.

Eka Roivainen, Oulu University Hospital

Eka Roivainen earned his PhD from the University of Oulu in 2015. He works as an assessment psychologist at Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland. His research interests include the validity of psychological tests and the study of personality theory by corpus methods.

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Published

2020-05-06

How to Cite

Motschenbacher, H., & Roivainen, E. (2020). Personality traits, adjectives and gender: integrating corpus linguistic and psychological approaches. Journal of Language and Discrimination, 4(1), 16-50. https://doi.org/10.1558/jld.40370