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The Deficit Model, 1970's
Women are socialised into being less assertive than men, holding them back in life. Women's language falls short of
men's in important ways; it is worse, inferior or worse adapted to having success in the world.
Robin Lakoff, `Language and Women's Place' ­ Lakoff's theory was that women are taught to speak in a `ladylike' way, e.
g. ladies do not swear. She argued that being taught in this way helped to keep women beneath men in society. If
women talk like women they hold no power but if they talk like men, they are seen as aggressive. Use Standard English
Specialist vocabulary
about household tasks ­
lack experience of
outside world Hyper/super polite
Hedging
Tag questions
THE OPPOSITE OF
WOMEN
Euphemisms, e.g.
`spend a penny' Vague adjectives ­ can't
Lack in confidence express a forceful Questions
opinion…read more

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The Dominance Model
Men dominate conversations and language.
Zimmerman and West, 1975 ­ men dominate conversation by interrupting; men can therefore dominate the topic of
conversation. It also means that men get more turns to speak. They recorder 31 conversations, in 11 mixed sex
conversations, men interrupted 46 times and women only twice.
Dale Spender, `Man Made Language' ­ feminist argument that the whole structure of language is biased towards men,
e.g. mankind, boys & girls. It is `correct' linguistically and socially to put men before women.
Interrupt lots
THE OPPOSITE OF MEN
Control topics…read more

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The Difference Model, 1990's
Became popular in the 1990's. Unlike the Dominance and the Deficit Models, the Difference Model rejects the idea that
women's language is inferior to men's.
Deborah Tannen, 1991 ­ `You just don't understand men and women in conversation'
Men and women are socialised as boys and girls to use language for different purposes ­ different subcultures. Boys use
language to establish power; conversation is competitive, they try to gain status and keep it up. Girls use language to try
and build relationships and agreement.
Men and women together = miscommunication
`Rapport' style
`Report' style
Direct questioning
Repairs ­ mending
conversational Minimal responses ­
problems shows support
Interruptions may signal
power order
Co-operative Turn taking
One person may
dominate…read more

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The Dynamic Model
No fixed identities CONTEXT
MEN AND WOMEN MAY USE LANGUAGE
IN QUITE DIFFERENT WAYS DEPENDING
ON THE CONTEXT!
We build different identities for different
contexts through language use.…read more

Comments

Paul Dutton


A superb resource which clearly articulates various theories.  Recommended.

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