Journal of Language and Discrimination, Vol 4, No 1 (2020)

Personality traits, adjectives and gender : integrating corpus linguistic and psychological approaches

Heiko Motschenbacher, Eka Roivainen
Issued Date: 6 May 2020


There have been linguistic studies on the gendering mechanisms of adjectives and psychological studies on the relationship between personality traits and gender, but the two fields have never entered into a dialogue on these issues. This article seeks to address this gap by presenting an interdisciplinary study that explores the gendering mechanisms associated with personality traits and personality trait-denoting adjectives. The findings of earlier work in this area and basic gendering mechanisms relevant to adjectives and personality traits are outlined. This is followed by a linguistic and a psychological analysis of the usage patterns of a set of personality trait adjectives. The linguistic section draws on corpus linguistics to explore the distribution of these adjectives with female, male and gender-neutral personal nouns in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. The psychological analysis relates the usage frequencies of personality trait adjectives with the nouns man, woman and person in the Google Books corpus to desirability ratings of the adjectives.

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DOI: 10.1558/jld.40370


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