Language and Gender Theorists/Theories

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  • Language and Gender Theorists
    • Pamela Fishman (1978)
      • Her research found that women asked 263 questions at home and men only asked 107.
    • Robin Lakoff (1975)
      • She thought women lack assertiveness and therefore are less powerful
      • She thought women used the following: Hedges; polite forms; emphasis; empty adjectives; correct grammar/pronunciation; direct quotation; speak less frequently; more intensifiers; lack a sence of humour.
    • O'barr & Atkins (1980)
      • Studied language variation in institutional context.
      • They found lack of power came from job status, not gender.
      • They found that women who used fewest 'women traits' had good jobs.
      • They said nervousness could also have added to powerless people's use of 'women features'
    • Zimmerman & West
      • Theory was based in a college community
      • In same-sex conversations interruptions were spread evenly
        • In mixed-sex conversations, men were mre likely to interrupt than women,
    • Debra Tannen (1990)
      • She thought men and women have different cultures and they used different language within these cultures.
      • According to Tannen there's 6 pairs of needs which drive a conversation - (men left, women right): 1. Status/support; 2. Independance/Intimacy; 3. Advice/Understanding; 4. Information/Feelings; 5. Orders/Proposals; 6. Conflict/Compromise
    • Deborah Jones (1990)
      • Studied women's cultural speech
      • She found that women used 4 types of gossip.
        • 1. House talk - talking about female role in the house
          • 2. Scandal - behaviour of others
            • 3, Bitching - women anger at their inferior role in society. Only disclosed privately and to other women
              • 4. Chatting - talking of skills and nurturing others and exchanging information
    • Brown & Levinson
      • Looked at how females aim to maintain face, whereas men disregard it by using taboo language and expletives in their speech.
    • Kramer & Kramer
      • Studied cartoons and the characters within cartoons
      • They found that people expected male characters to swear more but in fact female characters swear more than originally thought.
    • Siegler & Siegler
      • Found that women use more tag questions than men.
    • Goodwin
      • According to Goodwin, women use more modals than men.
      • He thought men use more direct and imperative language.
  • Women use short sentences to show interest. Men use short sentences to show lack of interest.
    • Pamela Fishman (1978)
      • Her research found that women asked 263 questions at home and men only asked 107.


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