Manifestations of Gender Distinction in the Japanese Language

Present day Japanese has evolved very differently from European languages. One relatively unique aspect of Japanese is the diversity of its gender specific constructs and their usage. In the current state of Japanese and its many dialects, speaker gender plays an important role in word choice, sentence structure, tone of voice and more generally the ways in which a person can present him/herself with the language. The importance of roles in Japanese society makes the speaker obligated to conform to language stereotypes whereas in English, the language of self-proclaimed individualists, social forces have been pushing to neutralize the inherent biases of the language. Even though there are ancient stereotypes still embodied in the Japanese language and culture, we are beginning to see these break down as well.

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