Language Theories

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Norwich Study:

  • Looked at the pronunciation of the suffix ending 'ing'
  • Non standard forms occured more in men than women
  • Men tend to use covert prestige.
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Reading Study

  • Looked at the language of teenagers in reading
  • Boys have more non - standard forms than women
  • Boys belonged to a denser network than women 
  • Their language converged towards the vernacular to show social solidarity
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Showed that mens language showed aurthority and women's lacked in some way:

  • Women's language lacks in comparison to men
  • Women use more WH imperatives
  • Women hedge more
  • Speak less fequently 
  • Use less taboo language
  • Use empty adjectives
  • Lack a sense of humour
  • Use more intensifiers
  • Apologise more
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  • Women were more co-operative in same sex conversations
  • Tend to use more positive politeness
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KUIPER (1991)

Rugby Team

  • Men use insults as a way of expressing solidarity
  • They are less likely to save face
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Difference model

  • Status vs. Support

For men conversation is a way of building status whereas for women it is about seeking and providing support

  • Advice vs. Understanding

Women seek comfort and sympathy whereas men seek a solution

  • Information vs. Feeling

For women conversations are about building relationshiops whereas for men its about communicating information

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  • Orders vs. Proposals

Men use direct imperatives wheras women use superpolite forms (Let's)

  • Conflict vs. Compromise

Women tend to avoid conflict in comparison to men.

  • Independence vs. Intimacy

Women tend to seek intamacy whereas men seek independence

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COATES (1996)

Men prefer topics where they can take turns on being the expert. whereas women are more personal.

Men ask questions to seek information.

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FISHMAN (1980)

Women use three times more tags than men to try and keep the conversation going

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