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Language & Sexism
Home Up UMUC's Schedules Mannheim Campus 2001 Students Resources Rsum

SEMINAR:  W.A. Hume ENG 278/378  Language and Sexism

TEXT:  Miller, Casey and Kate Swift.  The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing (2nd edition). Harper & Row Publishers:  New York, 1988.

INVITATION:  Studying the historical context and social ramifications of language biases benefits even the most remedial writers.  The lessons we learn from acknowledging the social biases inherent in our language extend to our understanding of cultural biases as well. With a knowledgeable understanding of the prejudices that exist in our everyday language, we are better prepared to avoid misunderstandings in our writing and our speech.

FOCUS:  The purpose of this seminar is to explore the ways in which English is used in both written and oral discourse so as to better understand its orientation toward the sexes.

Three general goals should be achieved through this 1 credit hour seminar:

  • to understand how language communicates attitudes, beliefs, and values.

  • to understand the extent to which the sexes use the language differently.

  • to become aware of the social implications of language use and misuse.


 ENG 278

ENG 378

Class participation 50% Class Participation 50%
Final Examination  20% Final Examination  20%
Home Assignment  30% Research Paper       30%
(due 17 November 1997)  (due 17 November 1997)


  • Introduction to the course

  • Review textbook and in-class handouts

  • LUNCH  (12:00 - 13:00)

  • Viewing and discussion of film Orlando

  • In-class exercises and discussion of homework


  • Student presentations* and class discussion

  • In-class exercises on re-writing sexist constructions

  • LUNCH (12:00 - 13:00)

  • Moral dilemmas and statistics

  • Viewing change and acknowledging pioneers

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS: Find three examples of sexist language.  These examples may be from media advertisements, textbooks, newspaper or magazine articles, or everyday life.

On Sunday, you will present your findings to the class and explain why these are examples of sexist language.

ENG 278 Home AssignmentFind a recent article (1995-97) on an aspect of Language and Sexism.  Write an abstract of the article using the writing guidelines given in class.  This assignment should be mailed to the instructor with a postmark no later than __________..

ENG 379 Research PaperWrite a five-page paper (approximately 1,500 words) on a topic of Language and Sexism.  Your topic must be approved by the instructor no later than 7 Nov 97.  You must use at least three periodical references and use proper MLA format for documentation. The research paper must be double-spaced and typed.  It should be mailed to the instructor with a postmark no later than __________.

Please include a self-addressed envelop if you wish to have your work returned to you.
Wendy A. Hume
PSC 10, Box 686

APO AE  09142

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