Language and gender theory's

The main theory's come under the 3 D'S, Deficit (lakoff) Dominance (zimmerman & west) and Difference(Tannen)

Gender in CONVERSATION

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Robin Lakoff- Deficit

wrote a book called 'Language and womans place' and made assumptions that women use:

  • Hedges E.g. "it seems like"
  • Super polite form
  • use empty adjectives E.g. divine, lovely, adorable
  • use indirect commands/requests E.g. "isnt it cold in here" really requesting that the windows get shut.
  • lack of sense of humour
  • use more intensifiers E.g. "im SO glad you came"
  • tag questions e.g. "you're going to dinner, arent you?"

AND MANY MORE.

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Dominance- Zimmerman & West

Zimmerman & West undertook a university campus study about language in mixed gender conversations.

They report that in 11 conversations between men & women, men used 46 interruptions, but women only 2. showing men try to DOMINATE more.

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Tannen- Difference

Tannen suggests that men and womens language contrasts.

  • Men: INDEPENDENCE. Women: INTIMACY
  • Men: ADVICE. Women: UNDERSTANDING
  • Men: INFORMATION. Women: FEELINGS
  • Men: ORDERS. Women: PROPOSALS
  • Men: CONFLICT. Women: COMPROMISE
  • Men: STATUS. Women: SUPPORT
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