Cristina Silvia Vâlcea
Transilvania University, Brașov, Romania
If modernity has provided a number of incredible technical advancements in the domain of gender and social gender representation, they have not succeeded in taking down all the barriers against the rigid social and familial representations of the roles of men and women and, respectively, of husbands and wives. In most societies women are assigned inferior positions, not only in work-related contexts, but also in family contexts. Whether educated or professional, modern women confront stigmata similar to those in the Inquisition, which proves that age-old beliefs stubbornly persist or, worse, are intentionally maintained.
One particular issue concerns the right to an abortion. Outside of the moral implications, which will not be discussed here, certain states criminalise abortion within their legal systems. This paper refers to the special case of Ireland that issued in 2013 a law which forbade women to have abortion unless a medical condition would endanger mother or childs safety. It provides a linguistic analysis of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 issued by the Irish Parliament and signed by the president of the Irish Republic. This study highlights the stand of the lawmakers, the vocabulary they use in referring to mother and foetus, the manner in which the interdictions are expressed, the modal verbs used and the implications of their use, the voice of the verbs and the techniques of backgrounding and foregrounding. All these elements provide precious data as to how women are told by the Irish State what to do with their bodies.
Keywords: Discrimination; Ireland; Women; Abortion; Ideology.
Aitchison, J. (1994). Words in the mind. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Borchin, M.I. (2009). Conjunctivul ca modalizator deontic. In F. Sâmihăian, & M. Spătaru-Pralea (Eds.), Lucrările celui de-al doilea simpozion internațional de Lingvistică (pp. 379-390). București: Editura Universității din București.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.
Bybee, J., & Fleischman, S. (1995). Modality in grammar and discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Cruse, A. (2006). A glossary of semantics and pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Davis, N., & Stasz, C. (1990). Social control of deviance. A critical perspective. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Fairclough, N. (2003). Analyzing discourse. Oxon: Routledge.
Fairclough, N. (2008). The language of critical discourse analysis: Reply to Michael Billing. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse & Society, 19(6), 811-819.
Fiske, S., & Taylor, S. (1984). Social cognition. New York: Random House.
Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin-Pererine.
Fowler, R. (1996). Linguistic criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Goddard, A., & Mêan-Patterson, L. (2006). Language and gender. London: Routledge.
Irigaray, L. (1985). This sex which is not one. New York: Cornell University Press.
McCloughry, R. (1992). Men and masculinity. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Miles, M. (1989). Carnal knowing: Female nakedness and religious meaning in the Christian west. Boston: Beacon Press.
Neț, M. (2005). Lingvistică generală, semiotică, mentalități. Iași: Institutul European.
Palmer, F.R. (1986). Mood and modality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schroder, K.C. (1980). Media language and communication. In J.L. Mey (Ed.), Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics (pp. 547-556). Oxford: Elsevier Science.
Spender, D. (1980). Man made language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Tannen, D. (2008). You just dont understand. London: Virago Press Ltd.
Vâlcea, C. (2015). Portrayal of male and female criminals in the Romanian mass-media. Brașov: Editura Universității Transilvania din Brașov.
Vâlcea, C. (2016). Modality or how to personalize a nationalistic discourse. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brașov, Series IV: Philology and Cultural Studies, 9(58) No. 2 2016, 93-100. Retrieved from
Verschuren, J. (1999). Understanding pragmatics. London: Arnold.
Zafiu, R. (2005). Modalizarea. In Gramatica limbii române, Vol. II Enunțul. București: Editura Academiei Române.
*** (2012) Dictionary of Contemporary English for Advanced Learners. Harlow: Longman.
*** (2005) Gramatica Limbii Române, Vol. II, Enunțul. București: Editura Academiei Române.
How to cite this article: Vâlcea, C.S. (2019). A linguistic approach to women discrimination in state laws: The Irish case. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education JoLIE, 12(3), 149-159. DOI: https://doi.org/10.29302/jolie.2019.12.3.10
For details on subscription, go to: http://jolie.uab.ro/index.php?pagina=-&id=19&l=en