Blog #2

Over the course of the last several weeks, my faculty advisor (Dr. Kristen Di Gennaro) and I have been working on creating a survey in Qualtrics. Currently, we are waiting on IRB to get back to us on account of the quality of our survey.

Our survey is designed to discover some of the consequences of the linguistic reforms and determine whether they have been successful. One of our questions is if participants have an awareness of the prescriptive grammar rules. After the surveys approved and completed, the next step would be to determine the reasons why some might be more inclined to change their speech patterns, while others remain more conservative when it comes to speech. The purpose is to find out if the adaptability to new rules is related to age, gender, educational level or even political views.

The survey has four parts, that is not counting the disclaimer for voluntary participation. Each section has four parts. The first block is focused on finding out what kinds of pronouns would a participant use when they have a choice. That is, they are asked to rate a sentence on a scale from “I’m very likely to use this phrase” to “I’m not at all likely to use this phrase”, with two more possible answers in between. The purpose is to find out how particular participants might be when it comes to the prescriptive grammar of pronoun usage.

The second part of the survey is designed to see whether participants are more likely to use gender-neutral terms in relation to professions or not. The third section would appear somewhat ambiguous to some participants since unless one is intensely familiar with prescriptive grammar rules (for example, a sentence can’t end with a preposition), the sentences would appear correct. This section is specifically aimed at getting the information on how much of a hold the prescriptivism has on the minds of participants.  The fourth section is fill-the-blank type, and is also aimed at the pronoun usage; however, unlike the first section, it is letting the participant input their own response in order to see if they would naturally put “they” instead of “he” or “she”. The questions are purposefully ambiguous for that reason.

Overall, we anticipate the survey to reveal thinking patterns that relate to prescriptive grammar usage. We are curious if people of older generations are less prone to adopting linguistics reforms. Yet, it must be mentioned, that one of the articles (Mucchi-Faina, Gender identity, and power inequality) that we used to preliminary research states otherwise.

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