Nicknames as sex-role stereotypes

De Klerk, V.A. and Bosch, B. (1996) Nicknames as sex-role stereotypes. Sex Roles, 35 (9-10). pp. 525-541. ISSN 0360-0025



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Nicknames are powerful indicators of attitudes towards gender categories and because of their transient and optional nature, it has been argued that they are more likely to show a closer relationship to ongoing trends in the culture and society than other more fixed parts of the language E. B. Phillips (1990) ["Nicknames and Sex Role Stereotypes," Sex Roles, Vol. 23, pp. 281-289]. This study reports on a survey of nickname usage among a group of South African adolescents from mixed socioeconomic backgrounds (approximately 25% other than white) in an attempt to explicate gender-linked trends in frequency of occurrence, usage and attitudes to such special names. It reveals that conventions regarding nickname coinage and usage are intimately connected to the gender of bearers and users, and that more males have nicknames and coin them than females; it also shows significant sex-linked differences in the linguistic sources and users of nicknames, and reveals a greater tendency for female nicknames to function as indicators of affection rather than for humorous or critical effect. It could be argued that these trends could be linked to the nurturing and nurtured role of females in society, and to the differences in social power generally between males and females.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:nicknames; gender; adolescents; culture; society; stereotype; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English Language and Linguistics
ID Code:452
Deposited On:15 Nov 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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