Is Bengali a gender neutral language

More courage to use gender-sensitive language

Actually everyone can test for themselves which person they see in their minds eye when they say "the eternal student": A man? Or also a woman? Anyone who only thinks of a male student is in good company.

In the meantime, numerous psychological tests have shown that "women are not automatically taken into account" when the masculine personal designation is used, such as "student", "tourist", "seller", "resident", "reader" or "pilot". The two linguists Damaris Nübling and Helga Kotthoff emphasize this in their new textbook "Gender Linguistics - An Introduction to Language, Conversation and Gender".

For three decades, according to Nübling, professor of linguistics at Gutenberg University Mainz, research has been carried out in psychology and psycholinguistics on “whether we actually see a woman in front of our inner eye, for example from 'pilot' or 'pilot' Speech is ". Two dozen empirical tests are now available. None of them have shown" that the masculine form is actually understood across the sexes ".

Completely different scientific tests would "come to the same result that the so-called generic masculine does not work," emphasizes Nübling. The generic masculine is the masculine designation that is meant to be used across all genders and thus also to include women. This psychological effect, however, only works in the plural : In the case of "students", women would be more associated with women than with "student".

According to Nübling, you can boldly try out innovations. This also applies to new spellings. Double forms such as "residents" and spellings with a capital letter inside the word such as "residents" would not make it difficult to understand the text, nor would it slow down the reading process. But they contribute to mentally associating women with.

According to the researchers, it has not yet been researched whether the so-called gender asterisk, i.e. for "residents" or the underscore as for "residents", also associates people beyond the two genders, i.e. the third gender.

The linguists complain that tentative suggestions for gender-equitable language are often vehemently rejected not only in round tables, but also in renowned media. Expertise hardly plays a role in this "heated, ideological debate". "We are currently experiencing a cult around the German language as if it were sacred and inviolable," said Nübling. Instead, the linguist advocates examining the various options with an open mind. Because the German language is not doomed. Quite the opposite, according to Nübling: "Language change is the best sign of a language's life."

rh / wa (with KNA)