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Is Lakoff's Theory Relevant Today?

The conclusion to our gender study culminating in the question: Is Lakoff's Theory Relevant Today?
by

Flannerz Flanagan

on 4 November 2012

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Transcript of Is Lakoff's Theory Relevant Today?

Tom Flanagan Ryan Jamniuk Joseph Stanley Is Lakoff's Theory Relevant Today? There is a lot of debate over how males and females talk to each other in everyday conversation. One of the main theorists is Robin Lakoff, a linguistic professor at the University of California. Her theory has been the basis for almost all studies in the field of communication. Men:
More Transactional talk
Interrupt each other
Disagree and more argumentative
Competitive in conversation
Use imperatives
Use Declaratives
Ignore each other
Reluctance to pursue other peoples topics
Use Taboo Lexis Lakoff's Theory Women
Use hedges
Use tag questions
Use indirect questions
Use polite and super polite forms
Apologise often
Avoid coarse language
Emphasis on social interaction
Use fillers
Back channelling
Latched talk
Multi-functional conversation
Special lexicon
Poorer sense of humour Lakoff's theory is divided into numerous parts whereas ours simply splits into two parts. The first being that Men take the lead in a conversation because they want to. This relates to Lakoff's view that men speak with a purpose and specific aim. In essence this means that when men are in control of a conversation they will want to maintain that control and put across a specific view or subject to the people involved in the conversation.

The second is that women take the lead in a conversation because they "have" to. This means that women will have a lead in a conversation but only keep it because they feel the need to maintain the conversation as our studies show they are much more supportive in a conversation and use affirmations such as "Yeh" and "Hmmm". This enforces that women are much more accepting of listening to what other people have to say and their opinions. This again relates somewhat to the fact that Lakoff believed that women were much more socaible and tended to be a supportive influence in a conversation. Our Theory Comparison As you can see from the chart only some of Lakoff's theories are relevant when describing how men and women communicate today. You may also notice that some of Lakoff's theories do not relate to our theories but we have still decided to pass a judgement on them as our main question is whether or not Lakoff's theory is relevant today. To sum up, we believe that most of Lakoff's theory is relevant today but some parts are outdated. This could be due to a shift in gender roles over the past few decades or maybe the fact that people as a whole have developed in the way that we speak and communicate with each other. Conclusion Lakoff's Theory is still largely relevant today!
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