Gender and Language, Vol 8, No 3 (2014)

Sexism and gender stereotyping in the Dagbanli language

Salifu Nantogma Alhassan
Issued Date: 14 Oct 2014


This paper examines sexism in the Dagbanli language of northern Ghana. The focus is on the vocabulary, and on popular terms and expressions that name, label or describe males and females. Although reference is occasionally made to dictionary definitions, the analyses of gender biases and stereotyping are based on speakers’ interpretations and descriptions of the cultural practices that provide the context for the use of words and their proper interpretation. The study reveals biased assumptions in the meanings of words that refer to males and females and the use of words to create and affirm gendered stereotypes of the two sexes. Similar words that refer to males and females do not have equivalent meanings; there are more labels that denigrate and trivialise females than males, and the labelling shows that different standards of conduct are set for males and females.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v8i3.393


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