8.1 Conduit

| September 2, 2020

Ed Conduit. (2020). The Sexism of Transitive Verbs in Legal Process. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 8(1), 46-59.

Abstract: The use of grammatical transitivity by the criminal law is considered. This question is discussed: is it appropriate for courts to use a discourse in which unthinking men do actions that cause harm to the feelings of women? Is the mental state of an actor depicted by the language used to describe the actions of that actor? The choice of verbs such as “abuse”, “treat” and “ply with” and military metaphors such as “bombard” and “harass” in relations between men and women are particularly problematic. The data analysed are child protection, relationship break-up, and intimate partner violence. Frieze’s evidence on habitual one-sided violence and the more frequent “common couple violence” is reproduced. Transitive verbs are analysed in the cases of R v. Love and R v Balakrishnan. Some reformulations using intransitive verbs with multiple agents are offered.

Keywords: transitivity, sexism, abuse, harassment, coercion


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Category: Volume 8