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Jennifer Coates and Deborah Jones

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Ellen McNeill

on 3 March 2015

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Transcript of Jennifer Coates and Deborah Jones

Coates acknowledges the tendency of girls to stick to playing in
smaller groups
, maybe with just one or two other girls where their relationship is based predominantly on
whereas boys play in larger,
hierarchical groups
which are based on joint activity, for example sport, where there is often an undisputed
Coates mentions two other theorists in her own theory: Daniel Maltz and Ruth Borker. They said girls learn to do the following 3 things:
relationships- closeness + equality
Interperet speech
of other girls
Boys do the following 3 things:
1. Assert position of dominance
2. Attract & maintain audience
3. Asssert themselves when another person is speaking
JENNIFER COATES is a Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Roehampton University.
Jennifer Coates
The 6 components of difference theory
Problems with Tannens theory
Deborah Tannen
Deborah Tannen is an American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C
Language and Gender
Jennifer Coates & Deborah Jones
Coates theorises that girls and boys develop different styles of speaking due to their largely differing interactions in their all boys and all girls friendship groups.Her current research interests include the construction of gender through talk, language and sexuality, conversational narrative, and turn-taking patterns in conversation.
She has recently published an article called ' The chattering Sexes, where she explains how all-male and all-female groups converse differently. While women's voices combine and overlap, men take it in turns to hold court.
Jennifer Coates looks at all-female conversation and builds on Deborah Tannen's ideas. She returns to tag questions - to which Robin Lakoff drew attention in 1975. Her work looks in detail at some of the ideas that Lakoff originated and Tannen carried further.
She is the author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships.
She was a main proponent in the difference theory which deals with cross-gender communication. The male and female genders are often presented as being two separate cultures.
Difference theory is often compared with dominance theory and deficit theory, and together with the more contemporary dynamic theory they make up four of the theories most widely referred to and compared in the study of language and gender.
Tannen says that 'for men, the world is a competitive place in which conversation and speech are used to build status, whereas for women the world is a network of connections, and they use language to seek and offer support.'

Status v. support
Women- world is network of connections, use language to seek & offer support.
Men- world is a competitive place. Conversation and speech used to build status
Advice v. understanding
Women- seek comfort and sympathy for their problems
Men- seek a solution to the problem.
Information v. feelings
Women- conversation important for building relationships & strengthening social links
Men- conversation message-oriented, communicating information
Orders v. proposals
Women- encourage the use of superpolite forms
Men- use direct imperatives
Conflict v. compromise
Women -avoid conflict & attempt to resolve disagreements without confrontation
Men- confrontation to resolve differences and negotiating status
Independence v. intimacy
Women- seek intimacy
Men- favour independence

General criticisms are that Tannen's observations aren't necessarily true or reliable because they are based on personal accounts rather than facts or research. Also they cannot be said for all conversations relating to marriage let alone mixed-gender interactions as a whole.
Problems with Coate's Theory
Her theory was not completely accurate with regards to the way children use language and for what purposes they achieved.
Some elements of the theory could be applied to either gender depending on the perspective with which you saw it.

Deborah Jones' 1990 study of women's language culture
House Talk - its distinguishing function is the exchange of information and resources connected with the female role as an occupation.
Scandal - a considered judging of the behaviour of others, and women in particular. It is usually made in terms of the domestic morality, of which women have been appointed guardians.
Bitching - overt expression of women’s anger at their restricted role and inferior status. Express in private & to other women only. The women who bitch are not expecting change- make their complaints in an environment where their anger will be understood and expected.
Chatting - most intimate form of gossip, a mutual self-disclosure, a transaction where women use to their own advantage the skills they have learned as part of their job of nurturing others.
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