Theorists


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  • Language and Gender Theorists
    • Robin Lakoff (1975)
      • Found that 'women's language' lacked real authority, and consisted of: tag questions, hedges, fillers, politeness, intensifiers and expletive terms.
      • The Deficit Approach
    • O'Barr and Atkins (1980)
      • Observed courtroom trials. Lower-class or less- authoritative people used Lakoff's 'women's language' so therefore renamed it 'powerless language'
      • Challenging Lakoff
        • Robin Lakoff (1975)
          • Found that 'women's language' lacked real authority, and consisted of: tag questions, hedges, fillers, politeness, intensifiers and expletive terms.
          • The Deficit Approach
    • Jennifer Coates (1989)
      • The Difference Approach
        • Peter Tudgill
          • Women's pronunciation is more like Received English, therefore having more prestige.
        • Jenny Cheshire
          • men use more non-standard forms than girls to seem more rebellious and tough
          • Covert prestige is used more with women
      • All female talk is cooperative, negotiate discussions and support each other. She argues these patterns are not found in mixed-talk.
      • Coates said women used epistemic modal forms: 'perhaps', 'sort of' to avoid face-threatening acts.
    • Janet Holmes
      • Alternative to Lakoff
        • Tag questions as politeness and boosting devices.
        • Tag questions are multi functional tools
      • Zimmerman and West (1975)
        • The Dominance Approach
        • Found that in their (small) data, 96% of interruptions in mixed-talk were made by men.
        • Women had restricted linguistic freedom. Men sought out to impose dominance by applying constraints.
      • Deborah Tannen (1990)
        • Explained differences in male and female speech styles
        • Status vs. support
        • independence vs. intimacy
        • Advice vs. understanding
        • Information vs. feelings
        • Orders vs. proposals
        • Conflict vs. compromise
      • Deborah Cameron
        • The Similarities Approach
        • Gender roles have become more blurred as society has  modernised.

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