Generic pronous and gender-inclusive language reform in the English of Singapore and the Philippines

Anne Pauwels, Joanne Winter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The concurrent trends of globalisation and "indigenisation" affecting the English language (varieties) around the world pose some interesting questions for language planning and reform issues (e.g. Phillipson, 1992; Pennycook, 1994; Crystal, 1997). With this project we examine the impact of these competing trends on "corpus planning" relating to gender-inclusive language use in the Englishes of Singapore and the Philippines, categorised as "outer-circle" Englishes by Kachru (1992, 1997). In this paper we present some findings on aspects of gender-inclusive language reform based on an analysis of the student and academic texts in the Singapore and Philippine components of the International Corpus of English [ICE] . Education, particularly higher education, has been identified as a leading site of contact with and trajectories of change for gender-inclusive language reform. We focus in particular on one of the main features of gender-inclusive language reform: generic pronouns. The results of the ICE corpus analysis suggest that adoption of gender-inclusive and gender-neutral generic pronouns is not yet profiled in these "outer-circle" Englishes. Generic he remains the pervasive generic pronoun in the student and published academic writing in the Singapore English corpus. The Philippines data reveal a similar trend although there is some emergence of s/he forms as the preferred gender-inclusive alternative. (Contains 2 notes.)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-62
    JournalAustralian Review of Applied Linguistics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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