As Level English Language Revision Document, AQA – Paper 2 Revision: Gender
Key terms • Approaches • 5 Theories • Gender in fiction •
Amelioration: a word that takes on more positive connotations in society; regardless of meaning
Pejoration: a word that takes on more negative connotations in society; regardless of meaning
Marked terms: terms that are used to describe a job role which convey differences in gender
Lexical asymmetry: words with parallel denotation but different connotation
Patronising usage: terms associating one gender with inferior superiority masked by apparent kindness
Derogatory usage: terms that lessen the reputation of one gender, this is primarily demonstrated by degradation of women to animals
Generic man – terms that refer to everyone but only males are explicitly mentioned
Order of precedence – terms for one gender preceding those of another gender
Deficit approach: this approach looks at the lack of power in language. By most gender theorists women suffer from a deficit whilst men do not.
Lakoff agreed with this as she believed women lacked power and assertiveness which was demonstrated in their lack of powerful language.
O’barr and Atkins identified powerless language traits that are central to the deficit approach. These are the traits that were first hypothesised by Lakoff and assumed to be utilised by females.
Traits of powerless language:
Use of modals
Dominance approach: ways in which the gender of a person influences their interactions in mixed sex conversations by being controlling. This is shown by interruptions as a speaker will choose to interrupt either to show agreement or to hi-jack the conversation – in the dominance approach interruptions are to hi-jack or make their own point. It is assumed that men have more power in conversation and have dominance.
Difference approach: men and women speak for different reasons. There are a list of opposing drives in a conversation, women are hypothesised to speak for a half the list and men supposedly speak for the opposing reasons as found by Tannen.
Hypothesis: Women’s pronunciation is closer to received pronunciation as it is more prestigious as women strive for prestige.
He speculated women did this because: