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Descriptions of Gender in Swedish EFL-textbooks: A Linguistic Study on Adjectives, Adverbs and Social Roles Used to Describe Women and Men in Two EFL Textbooks
Södertörn University, Teacher Education.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In light of recent surveys on gender equality and English proficiency in Sweden, this study examines the adjectives and adverbs which describe the women and men in two EFL-textbooks for English 6 in the upper secondary school, namely Blueprint: Version 2.0 B and WWE: World Wide English. Textbooks are often integral for language learning, and considering that students of Swedish upper secondary school are required to take English 6, the exposure of EFL-textbooks are significant. Thus, it becomes relevant to analyse how the language of EFL-textbooks depicts women and men. The actions, social roles and occupations of the female and male characters are analysed to find any discrepancies in how women and men are portrayed and whether these agree with the guidelines of the Swedish National Agency for Education. These guidelines require teaching to be carried out with consideration to fundamental democratic rights and should strive to promote equality between groups.

In addition, the study builds upon previous research within the field of linguistics as well as social sciences carried out by Fairclough, Foucault, Lucy, Butler and others which concerns discourse, linguistic relativism, gender theory etc. The hypothesis of this study is that there is still a discrepancy in how women and men are depicted in EFL-textbooks. By employing a mixed method approach which includes quantitative data and statistics and qualitative discourse analysis which highlights indications of unequal description of gender, it can be concluded that women and men are described differently, and often in terms of dichotomies, with adjectives, adverbs and the social roles that they are assigned. These descriptions may consequently result in that students that use these textbooks as part of their learning process may adopt these values. Thus, some descriptions violates the goals and guidelines for gender equality, prescribed by the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 59 p.
Keyword [en]
EFL, textbooks, upper secondary school, teaching, education, women and men, gender, mixed method approach, discourse, linguistic relativism, WWE: World Wide English, Blueprint
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29789OAI: diva2:914944
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-28 Last updated: 2016-03-29Bibliographically approved

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