Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account

Linguistic theories of gendered language

Zimmerman and West - 1975

Men interrupt women more than women interrupt men. Women more likely to accept interruption than men. 31 conversations - dated, American, small scale.

O'Barr and Atkins - 1980

Language used is situation specific. 30 months - took ten basic features from Lakoff.Language of courtrooms; analysed court cases. Witnesses used powerless language. Different ways of using language not based on gender - based on how powerful in situation.

Dale Spender

Society is patriarchal, women are powerless. Male as norm. Language is patriarchal. Women are trapped in a male dominated society


Women do the work in conversations or the 'sh*t work' of conversation. Ask questions; propose topics - topics that men want - use lots of rising intonation. Men are using language to dominate women or to show their dominant position in society.

Beattie 1980

Statistically no difference between genders regarding interruptions. Recorded 10 hours of tutorial lessons and found over 500 interruptions. Equal as all were 'students' who shared the same status.

Jennifer Coates

"Men Talk" - Rapid fire interchange - Insulted each other
- Playing the expert - Testing each other - Showed self as defiant

Goodwin - 1980-1990

Boys used commands with no politeness markers, and backed up commands with a desire statement "give me the... I want the..." Called these 'aggravated directives' - bald commands. Girls would use inclusive statements - "let's do it like this" suggested not commanded. Called this 'mitigated directives' - disguised commands. Used softening, tentative modality "maybe" soften as much as possible.

West - 1990

Male doctors preferred to use aggravated directives. Male doctors say what they need to - "You need to..." Female doctors use more mitigated directives, use "we" more than "you". Use tentative modality.

Engels - 1980

Fathers playing with children and mothers playing with children. Fathers tell children what to do while mothers consult the child on what to do.

Cook - 1997

Unusual as researched perceptions of people's language and focused on vocabulary. Judgements of others. Showed that people do have preconceptions as can place words. Can be prejudicial against others. Universal. Asked older and younger people - who both claimed the same words.

Tannen - 1990

MALES - Status, independence, advice, information, orders, conflict
FEMALES - Support, intimact, understanding, feelings, proposals, compromise
Accepts distinct ways of speech - takes many from Lakoff. Argues childhood friendships affect how we speak. Boys like gangs of friends and fight for positions and work out place. Girls have one or two best friends so support and nurture and take turns. Not to show dominance over women, but with other males as well as women.

Involvement strategies used in speech. Speech as three way system, not as: speaker > topic > listener
Two types - sound and meaning

Jones - 1980

Women's gossip - House talk: informing of concrete tasks. Practical. - Scandal: judging behaviour of others.
- Bitching: attacking men, how different and awkward they are. - Chatting: feelings and beliefs

Jesperson - 1922

Beginning of deficit model, women's language inferior to men's.

Cameron 2007

"The Myth of Venus and Mars". Found no difference between women's and men's language.

Giles and Powersland - 1975

Accommodation theory - more concept than theory. That speakers change their style towards that of the listener. One-way convergence. Attracted to people with whom we are similar. Speaker changes to be more attentive to the listener.Looking for approval and attention, trying to show on same wavelength. Even if content is not appealing to listener, language is.

Bell - 1984

Audience Design tracked the same newscaster and how they spoke depending on what station they were on. Changed language to audience before they heard him. Mass communication but can occur on micro level - get approval from audience.

William Labov

Spoken narrative structure - Abstract - (may not be there) indication of the type of narrative. - Orientation - scene setting. - Complicating Events - can be several or only one. Make story worth narrating. Clusters of detail around key points. - Resolution - ending of story, complicating events resolved. - Coda - (may not be there) moral/aftermath


Maxims of conversational cooperation - Quality - tell the truth - Quantity - say enough (not too much, not too little)
- Relation - keep to the topic - Manner - use an appropriate style
Motivated deviation - always a reason for disobeying maxims

Lakoff - 1975

Women's language as inferior to male language as women are inferior in society.
1. Hedging 2. Politeness 3. Tag questions 4. Emotional emphasis 5. Empty adjectives 6. Correct grammar and pronunciation 7. Lack of humour 8. Direct quotations 9. Extended vocabulary 10. Declarations with interrogative intonation

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording