In her review of language and gender studies for the 1988 Cambridge survey of linguistics, Sally McConnell-Ginet poses a crucial question about the language—gender interface (and its alter ego, the linguistics—feminism interface). Noting in paragraph one that the feminist intellectual revolution ‘has been little felt by most linguists’, she goes on in paragraph two to enquire:

Why have linguists been relatively inactive in the growing area of research on language and gender? One reason is that most of the initial impetus for investigation of this area derived from feminist thinkers’ concern to understand gender… and not from interest in language as such. This emphasis made the early research of limited professional interest to linguists though often of considerable personal and political interest to many of us as participants in the women’s movement.

(McConnell-Ginet 1988: 75)