Lakoff - 'Language and Women's Place' (1975)

A few cards detailing some of Robin Lakoff's WL features.

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Points 1-5


  • Speak less frequently
  • Show they are listening by using minimal responses (mmm, yeah)
  • Speak more quietly than men and tend to use the higher pitch range of their voices
  • Use hyper-correct grammar and pronunciation: Standard English and clear enunciation
  • Use a greater range of intonation and 'speak in italics' - so, very, quite
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Points 6-10


  • Use question intonation in declarative statements: make declarative statements into questions by raising the pitch of their voice at the end of a statement, expressing uncertainty
  • Overuse qualifiers (e.g. I think that)
  • Hedge, using phrases like 'sort of', 'kind of', 'it seems like'
  • Use super-polite forms: 'Would you mind', 'I'd appreciate it if', 'if you don't mind'
  • Apologise more
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Points 11-15


  • Use tag questions ("You're going to dinner, aren't you")
  • Have a special lexicon - e.g. women use more words for colours, men use more words for sports
  • Use empty adjectives (divine, lovely, adorable), and make more emotional evaluations rather than intellectual evaluations (great, wonderful, fantastic)
  • Use more intensifiers, especially 'so' and 'very'
  • Use more adjectives to describe approximate amounts, e.g. 'around', 'about'
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