Linguistics Senior Research Projects

Document Type

Capstone Project

Submission Date



Sexism, gendered language, sexist language, Evangelical Christians, linguistic sexism, lexical asymmetries, sexism in English, benevolent sexism


This study explores how evangelical Christians view connotatively and denotatively sexist language in English through a comparative study against non-evangelicals. Research on unnecessarily gendered language establishes English as contextually and denotatively sexist through falsely generic nouns, lexical asymmetries, and derogatory terms for females. Evangelical Christians have historically viewed gender roles as distinct from each other, however, little research has been done on how that affects perceptions of gendered language. Taking the stance that English unnecessarily prioritizes maleness, this study uses surveys and interviews to gather opinions on definitions of sexist language and asks participants to apply that definition in specific examples. The results are inconclusive in some examples, but a general trend shows that self-identified evangelicals do not see issue with what this study defines as linguistic sexism. This study also explores how belief systems correlate with why evangelicals view English differently than non-evangelicals. Since language influences how we perceive society, it is important to understand the influences linguistics holds in specific spheres. In this study, unnecessarily gendered language is the sphere examined.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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