Capturing socially motivated linguistic change: how the use of gender-fair language affects support for social initiatives in Austria and Poland

Magdalena Formanowicz , Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik , Horvath Lisa , Sczesny, Sabine


Gender-fair language consists of the symmetric linguistic treatment of women and men instead of using masculine forms as generics. In this study, we examine how the use of gender-fair language affects readers' support for social initiatives in Poland and Austria. While gender-fair language is relatively novel in Poland, it is well established in Austria. This difference may lead to different perceptions of gender-fair usage in these speech communities. Two studies conducted in Poland investigate whether the evaluation of social initiatives (Study 1: quotas for women on election lists; Study 2: support for women students or students from countries troubled by war) is affected by how female proponents (lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, and academics) are referred to, with masculine forms (traditional) or with feminine forms (modern, gender-fair). Study 3 replicates Study 2 in Austria. Our results indicate that in Poland, gender-fair language has negative connotations and therefore, detrimental effects particularly when used in gender-related contexts. Conversely, in Austria, where gender-fair language has been implemented and used for some time, there are no such negative effects. This pattern of results may inform the discussion about formal policies regulating the use of gender-fair language.
Author Magdalena Formanowicz
Magdalena Formanowicz,,
, Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik (Wydział Psychologii)
Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Horvath Lisa
Horvath Lisa,,
, Sczesny, Sabine
Sczesny, Sabine,,
Journal seriesFrontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishgrammatical gender, gender-fair language, political correctness, social change, feminism
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
Formanowicz et al 2015 FiP.pdf 416.7 KB
Additional file
2017-03-13-12-18-47-321 (8).pdf 18.32 KB
Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 0.942; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 2.463 (2) - 2015=2.885 (5)
Citation count*
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?