Language and Gender Theorists

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Lex
  • Created on: 21-03-13 11:38

Robin Lakoff (1975)

Published in the book Language and Woman's Place.

Claims that women:

  • Hedge
  • Use (super)polite forms
  • Use tag questions
  • Use empty adjectives
  • Use direct quotation: men paraphrase more often
  • Have a special lexicon: women use more words for things like colours, men for sports
  • Use question intonation in declarative statements
  • Speak less frequently
  • Overuse qualifiers
  • Apologise more
  • Avoid coarse language or expletives
  • Use indirect commands and requests
  • Use more intensifiers
  • Lack a sense of humour.
1 of 7

Zimmerman and West (1975)

men are more likely to interrupt than women 

  • Found in 11 conversations between men and women, men used 46 interruptions, but women only two.
  • Beattie - men and women interrupt more or less frequently. His findings not quoted as much as other study.
2 of 7

Pamela Fisherman (1983)

Interaction: the Work Women Do

Argues that conversation between the sexes sometimes fails, not because of anything inherent in the way women talk, but because of how men respond, or don't respond.

3 of 7

Deborah Tannen

You Just Don't Understand

Status vs. Support

Independence vs. Intimacy

Advice vs. Understanding

Information vs. Feelings

Orders vs. Proposals

Conflict vs. Compromise

4 of 7

Peter Trudgill

Found that men were less likely and women more likely to use the prestige pronunciation of certain speech sounds

  • Asked people, in various different situations and social classes, to read a passage.
  • E.g. verbs ending in -ing, to see whether they dropped the 'g.'
  • Women tended towards hypercorrectness, overt prestige, above that of their observed social class.
  • Men would often use a low prestige pronunciation - seeking covert prestige by appearing “tough” or “down to earth”. 
5 of 7

Jennifer Coats

Argues that all-woman conversation can fall into one of the following categories:

  • HOUSE TALK - is the exchange of information and resources connected with the female role as an occupation.
  • SCANDAL - judging the behaviour of others, women in particular. Usually made in terms of domestic morality.
  • BITCHING - the overt expression of women’s anger at their restricted role and inferior status. They express this in private and to other women only. Not expecting change, just want their anger to be understood.
  • CHATTING - the most intimate form of gossip.
6 of 7

Deborah Cameron

Women have been instructed in the proper ways of talking just as they have been instructed in the proper ways of dressing

  • “Feminine” kinds of behaviour.
  • “Verbal hygiene”.
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language resources:

See all English Language resources »See all Language and gender resources »