The Perception of Masculinity-Femininity in Neuter Nouns by Turkish Speakers in Terms of the Gender Variable

The present study was based on the idea that neuter nouns may associatively include masculinity-femininity and that the said associations may vary according to the gender of language users. In accordance with this argument, it was examined whether the Turkish nouns that are neutral in terms of lexical gender are interpreted as masculine or feminine in the minds of the male and female participants in terms of the gender variable. It was attempted to determine the association of the speakers towards masculinity-femininity with the data collection process carried out using words selected from 11 names with high associative neutrality rates. The aforementioned data collection process included not only numerical data but also the opinions of the speakers on their choices and how they perceived the words. The word-level free associations demonstrated by the speakers were analyzed and evaluated comparatively in the context of the gender variable. At the end of the study, it was concluded that associative masculinity-femininity included a mental process encapsulating neuter nouns when compared with lexical gender. 6 out of the 11 neuter words associatively interpreted by the participants were found to be masculine while 5 of them were feminine. Following this result, the same nouns were compared with certain languages that code words grammatically. When the reasons behind the masculine or feminine perception of neuter nouns were examined with applications, it was observed that the participants made choices based on their daily lives and subjective perceptions or observations instead of associations based on biological gender.


gender variable, free association, neuter nouns, masculinity-femininity, associative masculinity-femininity

Author : Turgay SEBZECİOĞLU - Sedat KARAKAYA
Number of pages: 272-309
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