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Language & Gender
Transcript of Language & Gender
Mr. David Heffer
Miss Olivia Simm
a system of linguistic communication particular to a group.
the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for males and females.
Language and Gender looks at the linguistic characteristics of males and females.
It refers to the relationship between language and our ideas about men & women.
There are many different theories about gender within language….
“If a little girl ‘talks rough’ like a boy, she will be ostracized, scolded or made fun of”
- male way of speaking is the normative
- female speech departs from the norm
women’s speech is deficit
‘Women were socialised to sound like ladies’
Super polite forms
Hypercorrect grammar and punctuation
Lack of humour
A more direct style
Better sense of humour
Tell more jokes
Use more non standard forms with
Lakoff sees WL as wrong
Views men's speech as ‘standard’ and
women's speech as ‘non-standard’
In mixed sex conversations, men are
more likely to interrupt
Views women as an
Male dominance is enacted through linguist practice -
‘doing power is doing gender’
M = dominance F = subordination & oppression.
Womens speech is due to male supremacy.
Believes in dominance
but isnt particuarly happy about it
[we're stuck with it
Views English as an inherently sexist language
'He' & 'Him'
inequality of the connations
associated with matched terms like Master/Mistress
Focuses on the way males and females talk and listen differently.
Two fundament forces at work during interaction:
how much power we have in relation to the other person
how much solidarity/like-mindedness we have
Men monitor interactions for
Women monitor for signals of
talk about it
exchanges of info
a way of relating to each other
Reporting back an event –
creating a fictionalised narrative with many details?
Do reinforcements (yeah or mm) mean
‘I agree with you’
Men and women belong to
Allows women's talk to be examined outside of a framework of oppression and powerlessness
when applied to mixed sex convo –cannot ignore the issue of power
Factors other than gender influence language.
When analyzing language, should look at the
characteristics of each speaker.
Social constructionist perspective
Speakers should be seen as
not being a specific gender.
A more recent approach, more emphasis on the dynamic aspects of interaction
Looks at the male and female characteristics of each speaker, rather than simply labeling speakers as male or female.
Delayed Minimal Response
Gender stereotypes can change according to responses to shifts in the economic climate.
Power structures inherent within patriarchy create
gender behaviour which are explained by that power
When changes occur, we develop new stereotypes to support and justify them.
In the past, females were viewed as inept communicators but in modern times, men are considered to be.
This approach considers sociological factors within the study of language and gender - rather than just biological conditioning;
Common thought is
'sex is biological'
gender is culturally shaped’
Gender is fluid, we construct or perform it - not binary.
Social roles/networks we enter into, influence the
gendered distribution of linguistic variants
Zimmerman, D. H., and West, C., (1975) Sex roles, interruptions and silences in conversation Language and sex: Difference and dominance. pp: 105- 129. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Cameron, D., (2007). The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do men and women really speak different languages?. New York Oxford University Press Inc.
Hyde, J., (2005). The Gender Similarities Hypothesis. American Psychologist, pp: 581-592.
Coates, J. (2004). Women, Men and Language. 3rd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Goddard, A. and Patterson, L. (2000). Language and gender. London: Routledge.
Spender, D. (1980). Man made language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Mooney, A. (2011). The language, society and power reader. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
The 4 D's are the main approaches towards Language and Gender
Change of attitude from speakers being a gender to
gender (male and female chracteristics within interaction)
Male and females do speak and 'perform' differently in conversations. Due to a
of factors, not just gender.