Language and Gender Theorists

-Every morning + Evening write down what you remember and check against notes.

-Make posters/mindmaps on subtopics (7).

-Throw all in the air and which ever way up the cards land, explain the theory or match the theorist.

-Leave post-it note questions around the house for yourself to answer on different days.

-Analyse everyday conversations and texts.

-Analyse model answers.

-Do practice exams.

-always think of new ways to remember terminology/theorists.
eg, deborah Tannen; Women social links-Mulika/Men;convey information + power;Kanzi=food 

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Western society characterising:


Women:emotional,empathetic,supportive,sumbmissive,spontaneous,nurturing,   co-operartive, intuitive.

Man is a leader + decision maker, woman is a loyal, supportive follower.

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based on the cobuild corpus (collection of language texts of all kinds, totalling 50 million words.

Words for physical attractiveness (pretty,****,glamourous) were used most frequently for women.

Terms describing heigh, abilities and personality were most frequently associated with men.

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Mills (following Cameron and Schultz previous rese

Semantic Deteriation of lexical pairs:

male term suggests a positive connotations, while female term suggests a negative one.

eg; Host-Hostess.

Adding suffix=form of marking.

Marking=modifing phrases, labelling departures from the norm.

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Miller and Swift

describing women by appearance and men by achievement.

describing men by their relationship to men (not vice versa).

male referents occur first in phrases;men and women, husband and wife.

aim: to make representations of men and women fairer and more equal.

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There is no term for normal sexual power in women, to match the term ‘virile’ or ‘potent’ for men.

(only extremes of frigid).

Terms for sexual activites=men orientated.

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Characteristics of Female language use:

use more terms relating to traditionally female work.

eg, fabrics=greater range of terms for colours than men.

empty adjectives; charming, cute.

Intensifiers; so, really.

Tag questions; suggests uncertainty and lack of confidence to make a statement.

Hedgers; kind of, like, you know.

-->Female language is less assertive and more insecure than mens.

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Mixed sex interactions; men talk more.

(approx, twice as much as the average time a woman would speak).

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Disagree with Lakoff.

Tag questions may also function as a device to help maintain discussion or to be polite.

Hedgers used for a variety of functions.

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Dubois and Crouch

Men used more tag questions than women, although it wasn't suggested they are less confident speakers?!

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O'bar and Atkins

Many of lakoffs suggested features did occur in womens speech.

a number of men from lower class background tended to use similar features.

Features of uncertain speech were more dependent on power relations and social status rather than gender.

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Dominance Approach

Because women occupy a less powerful position in society than men, their conversational behaviour is less assertive and less confident.

men are dominant within society=they tend to sominate mixed sex conversations.

women are said to be used to male dominance=women often be polite and respectful when speaking to men.

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Zimmerman and West - Dominance Approach

96% of all interruptions made in mixed sex talk were made by men.

women have restricted linguistic freedom.

men seek to impose their dominant status through their conversational behaviour.

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Difference Approach

differences in male and female attitudes and values that are said to be ingrained in childhood when we form and are influenced by, single sex peer groups.

Childs play=Boys games more emphasis on competition and confrontation
=girls games are more cooperative.

Adulthood=womens talk often focuses on personal feelings and problems=explains why their approach to conversation is more sympathetic and supportive.

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Coates-Difference approach

All Female talk is essentially cooperative in the way that they help to negotiate discussions and support each other as speakers.

these patterns are not found in mixed sex talk=evidence of different socio-cultural expectations.

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Pilkington- Difference Approach

women in same sex talk are more collaborative than men in all male talk.

women aim for more positive politeness strategies in conversation with other women.

men tend to be less complimentary and supportive in all male talk.

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Kuiper - Difference approach

all male talk=men likely to pay less attention to need to save face and instead used insults as a way of expressing solidarity.

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Standard English-->Cheshire and Trudgill

Women use standard English more than men; Suggested reasonings:
--->Women are more status conscious.
-Speech can be taken as an indicator of social class=women make more of an effort to conform to standard usage=demonstrate their status and repectability.
--->Societys expects better behaviour from women (even when children;boys tolerated more than girls; and adulthood=women should be ladylike, including speaking in an appropiate manner).
-expects women to play the dominant role in bringing up children (including providing them with models of correct speech for them to imitate).
--->The subordinate role of women.
-Children expected to speak politely to adults=women must defer in their speech to men=greater use of polite, standard forms.
->LAKOFF (hedgers, tag questions, indirect request forms) reflect womens lack of confidence.
--->Covert prestige=behaviour going against the norms and conventions of respectable society.
-Men associate non-standard forms with masculinity and toughness.
--->Overt prestige=respectable, socially desirable behaviour.
-->Women more.

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Trudgill-Covert prestige

When men asked about their speech; they claimed they used more non-standard forms than they did.

=they were proud of using such language and felt some kind of prestige attached to it.

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adolescent boys:

1 used non-standard forms most often=rep for tough deviant behaviour and was respected for this by his peers.

2 used standard forms most often=rated low on an index of tough behaviour and was often the victim of other boys jokes and excluded from group activites.

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Deborah Tannen

Men see language and communication as a way of gaining power or the upper hand.

Women see the world as a network of social relationships and seek support consensus.

Men use language primarily to convey information.

Women use language as a way of buling relationships and social links.

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