Important distinction to make in when referring to a person (or inanimate object
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We know that language influences our thoughts, truths, and realities, but the reverse is also true—our thoughts, truths, and realities influence how our language develops and changes. Because more women are working outside the home than fifty years ago, children’s books written today inevitably account for this in the stories they tell. Thus, social and cultural reality (that women work outside the home) affects the language used in children’s books (and possibly the way girls will be encultured in the future).
Further, existing categories in language affect our thoughts, realities, and truths. Because the English language contains separate terms for the pronouns ‘he,’ ‘she,’ and ‘it,’ we believe that it’s an important distinction to make in when referring to a person (or inanimate object). Interestingly, the Lakota only designate one term for all three of these pronouns: hé. Lakota speakers must rely on the context of the sentence to know whether the speaker is referring to a woman, man, animal, or inanimate object.
This assignment involves several parts:
1) Perform your own fieldwork in at two public locations (or on two different occasions in the same public place), assessing gender specific behavior, language, and nonverbal communication.
2) Your group will then give a fifteen minuteclass presentation over these observational findings as they relate to the course reading and film materials. A detailed grading rubric for this presentation is provided at the end of this document.
3) After your presentation, your group must hand in an accompanying essay (7-10 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 1” margins), with copies of your field notes. A detailed grading rubric for this presentation is provided at the end of this document.
4) Finally, your group members will also assess the value of your contributions to the group’s preparation, collaboration, presentation, and finishing (please see the attached peer review evaluation form at the top of this page).