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Language and Power
Types of power: (Wareing)

1. Instrumental ­ Used by individuals or groups to maintain and enforce authority
2. Authority
3. Expertise/Knowledge
4. Personal ­ occupation or role, e.g. teachers, managers, employers
5. Hierarchical/status
6. Ideological
7. Influential ­ Used to influence and persuade others
8. Political ­…

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Synthetic personalisation - process of addressing mass audiences as though they were individuals
through inclusive language usage
Power in discourse - power is manifested in situations through language
Power behind discourse - backed by an institution, social or ideological reasons

Lakoff's Politeness Principles

Lakoff believed that a co-operative conversation…

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Doctor's power/diagnostic interview

History-taking, physical examination, diagnosis, management/treatment
Schema ­ mental model
Candace West found that female doctors use more mitigated directives, males use more
aggravated directives

Legal language

Fossilised forms, Precise, coherent, unambiguous, Repetition of meaning, vague terms,
Precise/unchangeable words, Modal verbs, Lack punctuations

Language and Gender

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Men: order "We'll go to the red lion"

Conflict vs. Compromise

Women: "In trying to prevent a fight some women refuse to oppose the will of others openly" But sometimes it is far
more effective for a woman assert herself, even at the risk of conflict.
Men: The situation is…

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Even silence in conversation can have functions

Refusal to participate can be a control strategy
Could be an expression of disempowerment

Researchers have investigated men and women's use of spoken language in casual conversations

Discovered evidence that men interrupt women even when women are of higher…

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Izzy Bradshaw


This is a really useful resource. Thank you!



This is really good!!!!



For people who are doing English Language A AS (AQA), do you think its likely gender will come up as an essay. If so, speech or representation?

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