Algerian Gendered Car Nicknaming

Author: Zohra LABED

Keywords: cars, nicknaming, technology, gender, difference, dominance


Human identity is still seen nowadays as masculine or feminine by many scholars like Ballantine and Roberts (2010) who consider gender the manner identity is built to meet societal expectations. While masculinity indicates man’s traits in relation to specific performances as in the field of cars, femininity involves women’s attributes. The subject of language variation in association with gender has drawn the post-sturcturalists’ particular attention to feed later their language investigation via gender theories as one inspiration source. The dominance theory (Spender, 1985) illustratively tackles power inequality in gender and its effects on speech. According to this theory, women are linguistically attributed a lower position as a result of man empowering. Empowerment implies human insertion in decision management processes from numerous standpoints in reaction to several injustice occurrences striking for instance gender. In the case of cars, men opt for nicknaming their automobiles using feminine terms. This connection between car nicknaming and femininity reinforces some dominance theory’s beliefs in Algeria. The difference theorists, on the other hand, claim that men and women do not talk in the same way rather because of their identities which are culturally distinctly built (Tannen, 1991): They see the two genders as affiliating to two dissimilar subcultures. Car nicknaming exemplifies a number of their basic criteria. This paper seeks to examine and describe the phenomenon of car nicknaming in Algeria as well as explains the causes underlying its occurrences. It also attempts to shed light on such gendered lexical variation under the power/ culture impact.