Language and gender



-          Media builds a stereotype of what makes someone feminine and what makes someone masculine

-          Typical feminine traits:

o    Nurturing

o    Maternal

o    Innocent

o    Weak

o    Supportive

-          Typical masculine traits:

o    Strong

o    Handsome

o    Domineering

o    Tough

o    Protective




Otto Jesperson – said that women:

-          Talk a lot

-          Use half finished sentences because they speak before thinking

-          Link sentences with ‘and’ because they are emotional rather than grammatical

-          Use empty adjectives e.g pretty and nice; also use exaggeration e.g ‘so’ pretty and ‘so’ nice

-          Use adverbs too much and overexaggerate

-          Have a smaller vocabulary than men

-          Don’t use expletives

-          Use indirect expression

He also said then men are responsible for introducing new words to language. This theory was created in 1922- a much more patriarchal time.


Robin Lakoff- said that women:

-          Use hedges e.g ‘sort of’, ‘kind of’, ‘seems like’

-          Use super polite forms e.g ‘would you mind if…’

-          Use tag questions

-          Use hypercorrect grammar

-          Use empty adjectives

-          Have special lexicon; use more words for things like colours

-          Use ‘wh-‘imperatives e.g


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