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Language & Gender

A look at the different theories surround Language & Gender in Linguistics
by

David Heffer

on 17 March 2015

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Transcript of Language & Gender

DEFICIT
Language
and
Gender

DOMINANCE
DIVERSITY
DIFFERENCE
References
Mr. David Heffer
Miss Olivia Simm
Language
a system of linguistic communication particular to a group.


Gender
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”

Lakoff

- 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’

Hedges
Super polite forms
Tag questions
Emphatic language
Empty adjectives
Hypercorrect grammar and punctuation
Lack of humour
Direct quotations
Specialised vocabulary
Question intonation
Intensifiers

A more direct style
Interrupt more
Swear more
Better sense of humour
Tell more jokes
Simplified vocabulary
Use more non standard forms with
covert prestige

#PROBZ
Outdated

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
than women.

Views women as an
oppressed group

Male dominance is enacted through linguist practice -
‘doing power is doing gender’

M = dominance F = subordination & oppression.

Womens speech is due to male supremacy.

#PROBZ
Outdated

Controversial

Believes in dominance
but isnt particuarly happy about it
[we're stuck with it
fml
]

Views English as an inherently sexist language

male dominance

'Man'
'He' & 'Him'
inequality of the connations
associated with matched terms like Master/Mistress


Focuses on the way males and females talk and listen differently.

Dale Spender
Zimmerman
and
West
Deborah Tannen
Two fundament forces at work during interaction:

Power -
how much power we have in relation to the other person
Solidarity -
how much solidarity/like-mindedness we have

Status
vs
Support
Independence
vs
Intimacy
Advice
vs
Understanding
Information
vs
Feelings
Orders
vs
Proposals
Conflict
vs
Compromise
-----------------------------------
Report
vs
Rapport
Private

vs
Public

Men monitor interactions for
POWER
.
Women monitor for signals of
SOLIDARITY
.
PROBLEM?
Solve it
or
talk about it
?
Are conversations
exchanges of info
or
a way of relating to each other
?
Reporting back an event –
providing facts
or
creating a fictionalised narrative with many details?
Do reinforcements (yeah or mm) mean
‘I agree with you’
or
‘I’m listening’


#PROBZ
Men and women belong to
different subcultures

Allows women's talk to be examined outside of a framework of oppression and powerlessness



Controversial
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
male
and
female
characteristics of each speaker.

Social constructionist perspective
Speakers should be seen as
'
doing
gender'
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.

Overlap

Interruption

Minimal Response

Delayed Minimal Response

Discursivity

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;

'doing
gender not
being
gender.'

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

Deborah Cameron
Robin Lakoff
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
doing
gender (male and female chracteristics within interaction)

Male and females do speak and 'perform' differently in conversations. Due to a
variety
of factors, not just gender.
Summary
Full transcript