Gender Theorists


  • Differing language technniques develop due to different upbringings and interactions within freindship groups
  • Girls tend to stick to smaller groups in which the play is based predominantly on talking
  • boys have more physical play where there is a clear heirarchy
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  • Created by: ciara
  • Created on: 14-01-13 19:40


  • Girls and boys develop their differing language styles due to different upbringings and interactions
  • girls tend to stick to smaller groups where the play is based on talking, whereas boys play in larger groups where the play is physical 
  • males have a hierarchy and tend to try and assert a position of dominance whereas girls try to work together to achieve a goal
  • girls main purposes of talking are usually to criticise other girls in acceptable ways, analyse the speech of other girls and create and maintain relationships of closeness and equality
  • boys tend to talk to assert dominance, attract and maintain attention in a crowd and assert themselves when another member of the group has the floor
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Coates 2

  • Boys and girls deal with conflict in different ways; boys tend to resort to physical contact whereas girls tend to come to a compromise or acquiescence over the situation
  • boy's play is based around competition where someone always has to be the best
  • in same or mixed sex arguments boys and girls use similar strategies but boys tend to argue over things for longer than girls will whereas girls are less likely to be as obstinate
  • both boys and girls organise their talk to emphasise disagreement and opposition but a technique widely used only by girls is the 'he said, she said' accusations which involve a wider range of people in the dispute and only indirectly challenge the participant
  • both girls and boys have dispute over ownership and try to exclude third parties from their play but girls would often work together to achieve something whilst boys would remain independent
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Coate's Theories

  • boy's play is based around physical and joint activity such as sport where there is an undisputed boss
  • boys get more attention in the classroom, leading them to gain more attention in scientific and technical subjects therefore allowing them to achieve higher in these areas and becoming more powerful in a technocratic society
  • Coates categorised women's talk into 4 areas

1) house talk: talk involving exhange of information and resources, usually about the female role 

2) scandal : criticising and judging other people's behaviour, usually based on domestic morality

3) bitching: overt expression of women's annoyance at their inferior status and restricted role

4) gossip: the most intimate form of women's talk where their skills are used

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  • Deficit: This is the approach that suggests women's speech differs to men's because men's language is seen as the 'standard' and women's language is seen to have soemthing inherently wrong with it
  • Dominance: This is the approach that suggets women talk differently because they are subordinate to men and language is male-centred
  • Difference: This is the approach that suggests women talk differently to men because they simply have different sub-cultures as males use a 'report' style of speaking; meaning they generally speak to transfer factual information whereas women use a 'rapport' style of speech which is usually used to maintain and create friendships
  • Dynamic: Instead of speech falling into a natural gendered category, the dynamic nature and multiple factors of an interaction help a socially approppriate gendered construct
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Lackoff-speech techniques for women

  • hedges 
  • intensifiers (e.g. so and very)
  • overuse qualifiers 9e.g. I think that)
  • super polite forms
  • empty adjectives
  • tag questions
  • lack a sense of humour
  • indirect commands (request things without stating it bluntly e.g. 'isn't it cold in here?' is really a request to put the heating on)
  • stray from the use of coarse remarks and explitives
  • direct quotation -(whereas men paraphrase more)
  • special lexicon
  • question intonation in declarative statements
  • speak less frequently
  • apologise more
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