Language Variation: The Myths of Mars and Venus

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  • Language Variation: The Myths of Mars and Venus
    • Phase 1: Robin Lakoff & the Women's Language Hypothesis
      • claimed there was differences in the language used by men and women in interaction
      • period of 60s and 70s
      • research based on her intuitive ideas and not hard research
      • Lakoff's features of Women's Language
        • Lexical hedges or fillers
        • Tag questions
        • Rising intonation on declaratives
        • 'Empty' adjectives
        • Precise colour terms
        • Intensifiers
        • 'Hypercorrect' grammar
        • 'Superpolite' forms
        • Avoidance of strong swear words
        • Emphatic Stress
      • views of women's language
        • the features function is to weaken or mitigate the force of what is being said
        • the features are both cause and effect in a vicious circle that creates and reproduces gender inequalities
    • Phase 2: Empirical Investigation of Women's Language: O'Barr & Atkins
      • they tested Lakoff's Women's Language Hypothesis by collecting data
      • Key conclusions from their research
        • gender was a powerful determinant
        • gender was not the sole determinant
        • being female often correlated with lower social status and power
    • Phase 2: Turn-taking and Topic Control
      • Zimmerman and West: Male and Female turn-taking
        • investigated whether there was any difference in women's and men's turn-taking in interacton
        • two types of simultaneous speech
          • overlaps
            • slight over-anticipation of the end of the speaker's turn
            • feature of cooperative conversations
            • high-involvement style
            • it shows interest in, and enthusiasm for, what the speaker has said
          • interruptions
            • speaker begins while the first speaker is still talking and is clearly not at the end of their utterance
            • competitive conversaions
            • shows less regard for what the other speaker is saying
    • Phase 3: Challenging 'weak WL' - the form/function problem - tags
      • Lakoff claimed that WL features made women's language weak and tentative
      • criticism of Lakoff's analysis of tag questions
        • do not have a simple, single function
        • not always express tentativeness and lack confidence
      • The Functions of Tag Questions
        • Modal Meaning
          • speaker orientated
          • signals the speaker's degree of certainty
        • Affective Meaning
          • addressee orientated
          • reveals about the speaker's relationship with the person they are speaking to
          • two types of affective tags
            • Facilitative tags
              • supports the addressee and try to build up their positive face
            • Softening tags
              • try to soften the force of face threatening acts
    • Dominance & Difference Approaches
      • The Dominance Approach
        • the belief that women are a socially subordinate group
        • women's and men's different interactional styles as a reflection of their different social starus
        • women are socially subordinate, lack confidence and authority
      • The Difference Approach
        • sought to recognise the value of women's language style as supportive and cooperative
        • works to develop and foster good relationships and solidarity
    • Different Styles: Cooperative Women & Competitive Men
      • Jennifer Coates' differences between women's and men's conversations
        • frequent use of language forms to protect the face of other participants
        • rare use of interruptions
        • use of minimal responses
        • progressive and collaborative topic development

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