Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik

Deutsche Sprache in Gegenwart und Geschichte

Ed. by Ágel, Vilmos / Feilke, Helmuth / Linke, Angelika / Lüdeling, Anke / Tophinke, Doris

CiteScore 2018: 0.30

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.169
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.571

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 33, Issue 2-3


Zur Geschichte des Generischen Maskulinums: Sprachwissenschaftliche, sprachphilosophische und psychologische Aspekte im historischen Diskurs / On the history of the generic use of the masculine gender: Linguistic, philosophical, and psychological aspects in historical discourse.

Lisa Irmen / Vera Steiger
Published Online: 2007-05-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfgl.33.2-3.212


The present paper traces the development of the generic masculine as a linguistic convention focusing on its origin and use in German. Examining theories of grammatical gender from ancient times to the 20th century reveals that the generic use of the masculine cannot be regarded as a merely formal feature of language but as an expression of zeitgeist as well as contemporary social and cultural conditions. Historically, the convention of the masculine as a generic gender goes along with the idea of a semantic relation between gender and sex as well as the notion of the masculine gender being more worthy than the feminine. The findings at hand not only illustrate the increasing sexualisation of the grammatical gender concept over the centuries but also point to the dissenting voices that were raised against this trend. How the convention was implemented and to what extent it lead to problems of ambiguous reference will be outlined by focusing mainly on legal language and terminology. In this area the question of whether generic expressions refer to men or women or to both sexes has always had particular relevance.

About the article

Published Online: 2007-05-24

Published in Print: 2005-12-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, Pages 212–235, ISSN (Online) 1613-0626, ISSN (Print) 0301-3294, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfgl.33.2-3.212.

Export Citation

© Walter de Gruyter.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Ute Gabriel, Pascal M. Gygax, and Elisabeth A. Kuhn
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 2018, Volume 21, Number 5, Page 844
Thom Westveer, Petra Sleeman, and Enoch O Aboh
International Journal of Lexicography, 2018
Lea Hodel, Magdalena Formanowicz, Sabine Sczesny, Jana Valdrová, and Lisa von Stockhausen
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2017, Volume 48, Number 3, Page 384
Lisa Irmen
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 2007, Volume 36, Number 6, Page 431

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in