Language and Gender Theory

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Lackoff and 'womens language'

Womens interaction is different from mens. In the book 'language and a womens place' Lackoff put forward the idea that women have a particular variety of language and referenced womens subordinate role in society.

Linguistic features she thought supported this:

- Affective adjectives that describe feeling and emotion

- Emphatic stress by using pitch or volume on particular words

- Hedges making an utterence more intentive

- Hypercorrect Grammar - sticking closely to standard grammar.

-Rising intonation

- Tag questions 

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Janet Holmes

Broke down the distinction of tag questions 

- Challenged Lackoff's ideas in the 1980s in Newzeland 

Referential tags : signal factual uncertainty or lack of information e.g 'the film is on channel 4 isnt it?'

Affective tags (Facilitative) : Expresses solidarity or intamacy 'weve never liked musicals have we?'

Affective tags (softening): Weakening the tone of a critisism or command 'give me that hair brush would you?'

Her findings supported Lackoff's idea that women used more tag questions in their speach. 

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Deborah Tannen and the difference model

-Researched during the 80's and 90's supported the ideas of difference by emphasising sperate, unique linguistic characteristics. Women:

- Sympahty
- Rapport
- Private

-Problem Solving

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Fishman and the 'division of labour in conversatio

-Researched into the 1970's

Women tended to work hardest to help enable a conversation to take place.

She anaylsed questions,minimal responses, attention gaters and topic initiation within white American middle class couples. 

Women make the most effort in the conversation to encourage men to interact and the topic isnt always taken up by the male speaker.

- Can be seen as related to the dominance model 

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Deborah Cameron and the myth of mars and venus

- Challenges the assertion put forward by many researchers that men and women are essentially different. 

In the book titled 'The myth of mars and venus' in 2007, Cameron suggests that the idea of difference is misleading and, suggesting that there are more differences within genders rather than between them.

- Language and communication matters to women more than men.

- women are more verbally skilled than men

-Men use language competitivly

- There is miscommunication between the sexes.

'Men and women speak different languages

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