Language and Gender

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  • Created by: Ben
  • Created on: 13-01-13 21:10

Male and Female Language use

Women:

Trudgill (1983)- Studied accents-  he found that women use RP - OVERT prestige

Chesire (1982)- Studied speech of adolescant boys/ girls. Found that boys use non- standard grammatical forms- COVERT prestige

Overt- respectable, well off section of society.

Covert- rebellious, independant

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Women's language- why different to men's

Several Explanations: 

1) Maybe women feel less secure in terms of status in society- use prestigious language to combat this?

2) Expectations that women behave 'ladylike'- e.g. not swearing or arguing 

3) Men already have higher status in society- no need for prestigious forms- instead use covert prestige to seem rebellious and tough

4) Non standard lang associated with lower class males- copy this to show they share masculine qualities

HOWEVER! ONLY BASED ON SMALL QUANTITES OF MEN/ WOMEN CANT BE GENERALISED!!!!

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Women's language- more polite than men's?

Charecteristics of Women's Language- ROBIN LAKOFF

Hedges and Fillers
Apolegetic Features
Weak expletives
Tag questions
Indirect Requests
More intensifiers

Also tend to talk less then men.

But why?

reflects women's 'inferior social status'- make them sound NEEDY AND INDECISIVE

Women's language is weak and prevents women from being taken seriously

Called the DEFECIT APPROACH

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The Deficit Approach- different viewpoint

O'BARR AND ATKINS (1980) 

Analysed the language used in a courtroom

MALE and FEMALE witnesses analysed- both with LOW SOCIAL STATUS and/or INEXPERIENCED with courtroom practices

Both showed linguistic features Lakoff said were female

Suggests Lakoff's ideas could be linked to people feeling POWERLESS

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Lakoff- criticism

Old- completed in 1975

Other research argues differently.

Holmes (1984)- women's language doesnt show weakness- instead shows desire to co-operate

Cameron (2007)- Argued the situation dictates how a person speaks NOT gender- few differences between Males/ Females

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The Dominance Approach

ZIMMERMAN AND WEST (1975)

Recorded interruptions in conversations between men and women

96% of interruptions were made by Men

MEN ARE DOMINANT in mixed sex conversation 

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The Difference Model

TANNEN (1990)- DIFFERENCE APPROACH

Described male and female style of conversation in terms of difference

Men:

Concerned with STATUS AND INDEPENDANCE e.g. interrupt a lot

Give DIRECT ORDERS e.g. pass me that

Interested in gaining FACTUAL INFORMATION & finding SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS

Women:

Interested in FORMING BONDS- talk less and agree more then men

Give POLITE, INDIRECT ORDERS, try to AVOID CONTACT. e.g. could you pass me that

show UNDERSTANDING by COMPROMISING and offering support rather than solutions

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Problems with Difference and Dominance approachs

Beattie (1982)

Questioned Zimmerman and West-

 specifically interruption doesnt neccasarily show dominance- argued could be SUPPORTIVE e.g mmm, yes

Cameron (2007)- 

Claimed research was BIASED- only focus on differences (small) compared to larger similarities. 

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