This article deals with the issue of sexist language, investigated both from the point of view of a theory of the use of language and from that of a semiotic analysis of linguistic interaction, as an expression of ideological models. In other words, we will apply an interpretative approach to the set of facts that constitute violent language in gender discrimination.
This perspective requires a more general reflection on the relationship between language and society, between the subject (speaker) and truth, a typical theme that recalls structuralist and hermeneutical approaches to the link between experiential reality and its linguistic representation. The crucial point is the production of meanings through words and their ability to manipulate people’s social relationships, values and behaviour. Performativity is the mechanism that makes words able to interpret and operate in the world. Sexist language, in this sense, can fi x and historicize the prejudices underlying a discriminatory organization of society. Complementary to the main theme is the question of inclusiveness, i.e. the use of a non-differentialist language: its nature and its proximity to the ideology of ‘politically correct’ is discussed.
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