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Analysis of gender-fair language in sport and exercise

Darija Omrčen

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 342 Kb

str. 143-161

preuzimanja: 2.900



Gender-sensitive language, gender-neutral language, gender-inclusive language, gender-free language and gender-fair language are terms used in English to refer to the usage of a tactful and respectful selection of vocabulary devoid of unfounded, unfair and discriminatory reference to women in contrast with men. Sport as a global social phenomenon strives for effort, excellence, fair play, solidarity and respect for all, and tries, among other things connected with these principles, to implement gender-fair policy throughout its domains, language included. The aim of this research was to analyse, both diachronically and synchronically, the usage of gender-fair language in competitive sport as well as in the scientific journals addressing sport and exercise-related topics. To realize the aim of this research, several relevant sources were inspected. As for competitive sport, first the texts of the Olympic Charter (the name is generally used in reference to all the editions) were analysed from its first edition in the English language, besides French, published in 1930 up to the latest edition published in 2015. Secondly, the set of nine documents published by the International Olympic Committee was scrutinized in terms of gender-fair vocabulary both with respect to diachrony and synchrony of their usage. Thirdly, the set of seven documents published by sports governing bodies were investigated to find out whether they abide by the principle of using gender-fair language. Further, names of sporting events and terms designating a person or persons participating in a sporting event were explored. As regards scientific inquiry, to analyse the policy of abiding by the same principle, i.e. by the principle of using non-discriminatory language in scholarly writing, a set of scientific journals that publish articles whose topics are sport-related was selected. The Web of Science Core Collection – Science Citation Index Expanded, an example of a relevant and a highly valued database in which a multitude of scientific publications – sport-related in terms of their topic as well – are indexed, was searched to look into the word choice used to talk about women and men in sport. The analysis has shown that special attention is paid to using genderfair language both in competitive sport and in scientific writing. Although evidence revealed that in some cases gender-fair language is either inconsistently used or better solutions should be sought, sport is indisputably a domain which strives to follow a policy aimed at developing equal opportunities for women and men – using gender-fair language being one of the ways to corroborate this endeavour.

Ključne riječi

sport; language; gender-fair

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