the titles Miss and Mrs, because they are always followed by the family name of a father or husband, are historical reminders of a time when women were regarded as the responsibility, or indeed the property , of their fatherland husbands. While women’s political and economic rights have changed considerably in many countries, the English language still allows us to mark the marital status of women in ways that do not exist for men. Is women’s marital status marked in other languages? If so, how? It’s important to examine language you know well or to have a consultant who speaks that language natively. Do people try to avoid title and surname conventions when they get married? How can they do this with their language? You might investigate the use of titles and surnames in same-sex civil partnerships, which is frequently referred to as ‘marriages’. One resource might be wedding announcements in newspapers or coverage of celebrity sam-sex partners to gather the data here. How might labels for these new types of partnerships affect the language system?

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