Chairperson or chairman?: A study of Chinese EFL teachers’ gender inclusivity

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Given the potential influence of teachers’ linguistic practice on children’s language use and gender role development, the present study seeks to examine the extent of linguistic discrimination present in teachers’ language. A total of 215 Chinese EFL teachers were invited to participate in the survey, which included a series of elicitation tests on their selection of English words for occupational titles, and the choice of generic pronouns anaphoric to people of unknown gender. The findings revealed that, while gender-biased language is still widely used, non-sexist linguistic reform has had an impact on Chinese EFL teachers, some of whom have expressed a concern with regard to avoiding sexist language. The study also found that choice of generic pronouns co-varied with such factors as semantic meaning, word structure and the gender stereotypes associated with particular occupations. Copyright © 2015 Applied Linguistics Association of Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-49
JournalAustralian Review of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Early online date01 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Lee, J. F. K. (2015). Chairperson or chairman?: A study of Chinese EFL teachers’ gender inclusivity. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 38(1), 24-49. doi: 10.1075/aral.38.1.02lee


  • China
  • Gender
  • Generic pronoun
  • Occupational title
  • Sexism


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