Lady or woman? The debate on lexical choice for describing females in sport in the Turkish language

Arpinar-Avsar P., GIRGIN S., BULGU N.

INTERNATIONAL REVIEW FOR THE SOCIOLOGY OF SPORT, vol.51, no.2, pp.178-200, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1012690213519992
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.178-200
  • Keywords: gender, language, media, sport, women, WORD PAIRS, ASYMMETRIES, COVERAGE, GENDER
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The study investigates linguistic sexism in communication in sports within a sociolinguistic context. The starting point of the research is a recent debate in Turkish society about the appropriate word to refer to females in sport. Specifically, the manuscript focuses on the preference between the near-synonymous Turkish words kadn and bayan (the corresponding English words are woman' and lady') in the case of describing females in sport. We present a theoretical background for gender in language and linguistic sources that explains the multilayered meanings of the Turkish words. We also present the findings of a supportive text-mining study that covers articles published in national newspapers in four consecutive years. The study aims to reveal the change in the recent usage in favour of both words as well as investigate long-term trends by using the 50-year archive of a mainstream national newspaper.