Slot: 30B–6 Dec. 30, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Panel: Grammatical Gender
Chair: Jane Hacking, University of Utah
Title: Different Femininities in Russian Gender Advertising
Author: Julia Babicheva, University of Alberta
Mass media in contemporary Russia present a powerful tool for creating and promoting diverse gender identities. This study determines and describes dominant feminine identities in the context of print ads published in women magazines. While the study of gender differences between men and women in terms of language use has been enjoying considerable attention in scholarship, the diversity of intragender identities shaped by different use of linguistic means remains underinvestigated.
The study utilizes ads from three most popular Russian magazines, whose readers are predominantly women of different age groups and social standing. These are Самая, Крестьянка and Караван историй for the period of 2005-2006. These magazines differ with respect to advertised goods. Therefore, the premise is that magazines through advertising certain products target specific readership. It is thus hypothesized that ads in each periodical typify and promote a certain female identity, which corresponds to the concept and focus of a magazine.
The paper analyzes the macrostructure and superstructure of advertising messages (terms suggested by Guseinova 2002: 59). Macrostructure refers to product gender, superstructure stands for textual composition, which includes slogan, body copy and contact information. The analysis focuses on the use of lexical expressive means, choice of verbal forms and syntactic features employed in slogans and body copies of advertising messages.
Linguistic features of ads are viewed as closely interconnected with the content and visual image of an advert. Based on the context of gender advertisements intended for women, it is expected to reveal the following feminine identities: mother, housewife, model and businesswoman. The distribution of the categories correlates with the advertisers’ ideas about ideal femininities as real or imaginary ‘selves’ pursued by the women in contemporary Russia.
Guseinova I.A. "O nekotorykh formakh predstavleniia gendernogo aspekta v kommercheskikh deskriptivnykh reklamnykh tekstakh.” In Gender kak intriga poznaniia. Moscow: Rudomino, 2002.
Title: Feminine or Masculine? The Case of Gender Preference in Occupational Titles in the Bulgarian Language
Author: Svetlana Vassileva-Karagyozova, University of Kansas
The area of professional terminology in the Bulgarian language exhibits a great amount of gender asymmetries. Bulgarian linguists and grammarians (Andreichin, 1961; Roussinov, 1974, Pashov, 1989) agree upon the idea that since the Bulgarian language possesses morphological resources to create feminine occupational nouns from almost all masculine nouns, the available feminine forms must be always used when referring to women. However, language practice doesn’t seem to follow this prescription.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate Bulgarian native speakers’ preference for the gender form of professional titles for female referents in formal and informal contexts. It also aimed to find some possible explanations for the preferences shown.
The subjects were 137 native speakers of Bulgarian living in Bulgaria and using the language on a daily basis. The research instrument utilized in the study had the format of a multiple-choice questionnaire. It consisted of two parts. The purpose of the first part was to test the usage of ten professional titles for female referents in formal and informal contexts. The second part of the questionnaire was meant to investigate the attitude towards hearing the feminine or masculine gender of professional titles when used in reference to a female individual.
The study found that regardless of the fact that the Bulgarian language possesses productive morphological devices to reflect the gender of the referent, native speakers of Bulgarian do not consistently use the feminine gender of professional titles when referring to women.
Andreičin, L. 1961. "Nepravilna upotreba na saštestvitelni ot mažki rod pri označavane na ženi." In Na ezikov post. Sofia: Nauka.
Pašov, P. 1989. Praktičeska balgarska gramatika. Sofia: Nauka.
Russinov, R. 1974. Tradicia, savremenno sastoianie i moda pri nazovavane ili tituluvane na zenite v balgarskia ezik. In Andreičin, L. (Ed.), Problemi na balgarskata knižovna reč (pp. 59-77). Sofia: Nauka.