English Language AQA AS Language and Gender

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Language and Gender
Dominance Model
Jennifer Coates (1993) identified this approach. It sees women as an oppressed group.
She interpreted differences in women's and men's speech in terms of men's dominance
and women's subordination. It is a feature within men interrupting women.
Coates studied the key differences in male and female speech:
Topic Choice ­ men talk about impersonal topics, women talk about more sensitive
aspects of life.
Dominance ­ males will sometimes hold the floor for a long time, `playing the
Rapid Fire ­ males sometimes exchange comments in a short, snappy style ­
friendly sparring and not a quarrel.
No Overlaps ­ males scarcely overlap during conversation because men prefer to
talk one at a time.
Zimmerman and West (1975) stated that males interrupt 96% of mixed sex conversations.
This led to the idea that males are more dominant in male/female talk. Women had
restricted linguistic freedom and men sought to impose their dominant status through
applying constraints in conversation ­ men and women don't hold equal conversational
Deficit Model
Robin Lakoff (1975) recognised that features of women's language Reflect women's
inferior social status. Their language use makes them seem weak. Characteristics
Indirect Requests
Empty Modifiers
Tag Questions
Weak Expletive Terms
Super Politeness
Speaking in Italics
Direct Quotes
Hyper correct grammar and punctuation
Question intonation and declarative sentences
Special Lexicon

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Differences in male/female talk are socially constructed so female language remains less
assertive and more polite. These features reflect women's inferior social status and made
women come across as indecisive and needy. Women's language is weak compared to
men and prevents them from being taken seriously.
Difference Model
Deborah Tannen (1989) stated that the difference approach sees women and men as
belonging to sub-cultures who are socialised differently from childhood onwards. This
may result in them having different problems in communication when adults.…read more

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Holmes (1984) studied women's language and thought that it was cooperative.
Holmes (2000) says that men have a higher status than women in the workplace, and also
find it easier to gain promotions.
Verb processes
Material Verb Process ­ men use this more than women. It is the Physical process e.g.
walks, go, and pull ­ doing words.
Relational Verb Process ­ women use this more than men.…read more

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Directives ­ words where speakers direct or elicit action by others. Usually takes the
question which invites an answer.
Reduplications ­ women use these more than men. They are parts of words
repeated for affectionate reasons e.g. teeny-weeny.
Lexical Asymmetry ­ refers to pairs of words that appear similar in meaning but are
not equally balanced e.g.…read more



Thanks, is very helpful


Thanks, is very helpful

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