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Not so “generic” masculines: Empirical studies on interpretations in French and Spanish

March 24, 2022 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Join us for a talk with Dr. David Heap as he discusses the use of the so-called “generic masculines” in both French and Spanish languages.

In debates over the use of “generic masculines,” language academics in France and in Spanish-speaking countries often refer to generic interpretations of masculine forms without citing empirical studies on such interpretations.

Empirical studies seek to examine through experiments or surveys whether masculine forms referring to human beings are more likely to generate a specific interpretation (i.e., referring only to males) or a generic one (i.e., referring to human beings generally, regardless of gender identity).

Reviewing decades of literature on interpretations in Spanish and in French yields a body of empirical evidence showing persistent male bias in both languages. This allows for a better understanding of current debates around inclusive language.

This talk is organized by Diana Carter as part of the Inclusive Languages project, and made possible with the support of the Department of Languages and World Literatures.

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About the Speaker

David Heap

Dr. David Heap

Dr. David Heap is an Associate Professor, French Studies Department and the Interfaculty Linguistics Program, and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, University of Western Ontario.


March 24, 2022
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Arts and Humanities, Student Learning
Alumni, Faculty, Students