Who wins

From Algolit

Who wins: creation of relationships

by Louise Dekeuleneer, student Arts²/Section Visual Communication

French is a gendered language. Indeed many words are female or male and few are neutral. The aim of this project is to show that a patriarchal society also influences the language itself. The work focused on showing whether more female or male words are used on highlighting the influence of context on the gender of words. At this stage, no conclusions have yet been drawn. 

Law texts from 1900 to 1910 made available by the Mundaneum have been passed into an algorithm that turns the text into a list of words. These words are then compared with another list of French words, in which is specified whether the word is male or female. This list of words comes from Google Books. They created a huge database in 2012 from all the books scanned and available on Google Books.

Male words are highlighted in one colour and female words in another. Words that are not gendered (adverbs, verbs, etc.) are not highlighted. All this is saved as an HTML file so that it can be directly opened in a web page and printed without the need for additional layout. This is how each text becomes a small booklet by just changing the input text of the algorithm.