Useful: Copy of Language and Gender theorists
Terms in this set (40)
Promiscuous words 220 female, 20 male
Patriarchal order means words for women become pejorated
Negative semantic space for women. Women can't be 'Doctors', only 'women doctors'
Looked at written archives and concluded that language is socially constructed. Androcentric language. Society controlled by men, so language built by men. Built-in bias.
Miller & Swift 1980
Research into pressPress.
Physical and age references for women
Modifiers represent them as irrational and emotional
Sexual innuendo often used
Baker and Freebody 1989
Girls characterised with adjectives like 'pretty'
Boys - brave or naughty
Mothers - domestic verbs
Men - action verbs
Paul Baker 2008
Texts always assume a heterosexual discourse
Men's language is the 'norm'. Women's language is seen as 'not as good' - it has something missing / falls short of men's
Otto Jesperson 1920s
Gives a historical perspective (how many of stereotypes still exist?)
Women have limited vocabulary
They are easily offended by swearing
They use indirect language
Lakoff 1975 - general idea
Women's language is 'socially constructed not biologically constructed'.
Power associated with male conversation behaviours, so women are excluded from power
If women talk like ladies they are powerless and weak
If they talk like men they are 'unladylike'
Lakoff 1975 specific features
- Lexis is trivial and relates to women's interests - specific colour terms, sewing terms
- Some adjectives are neutral but some are specific to women and men avoid them so they don't seem weak (lovely, divine, charming)
- Weak expletives (oh dear instead of swear words)
- Emotional intensifiers 'That's so kind' 'I really want you to...' (talking in italics)
- Tag questions - adds uncertainty. Women don't want to impose their views on others
- Hedges - 'sort of', 'you know' - make women sound uncertain
- Hypercorrect language (more Standard English, avoid slang etc)
- Politeness - will try to uphold social conventions
- Indirect. Imply what they want rather than commanding ("It's cold in here")
- They don't tell jokes!
Lakoff 1975 criticisms
- very outdated in terms of lexis (divine?)
- we use adjectives to fit in with our groups, not our gender?
- based on anecdotes rather than scientific research
Lakoff 1975 research against
- Zimmerman and West (dominance). Women's language isn't weaker, men deliberately dominate
- Dubois & Crouch 1976 found men used more tag questions
- Fishman - tag questions are a way to gain control and be cooperative, don't show uncertainty
- Janet Holmes 1984 - women's tags are most likely to be facilitative
- Cameron et al 1989 - men and women use same amount of tag questions
Cameron 2007 - it's really difficult to do scientific research properly because academia, the media are so intent on finding differences - it clouds our judgement. We can't help but be biased.
Zimmerman and West 1975
Overlaps and Interruptions
Males interrupt more in mixed sex conversations
Zimmerman and West criticisms
All subjects were white,, under 35, middle-class. Representative? Do interruptions always mean dominance?
Geoffrey Beattie 1982
Disagreed with Z&W. Did much bigger study.
Men do interrupt more but only by slight amount
Do interruptions signal interest and involvement sometimes?
Men and women have different cultures, so their language will naturally be different.
Women = cooperative
Men = competitive
John Gray 1992
'Folklinguistics' - Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Claims men and women are different species - media have been quick to jump on 'battle of the sexes' stories ever since.
Tannen 1990 Women detailed
- Support - talk to gain confirmation and support
- Intimacy - think in terms of closeness and support. Will check stuff with husband as it shows intimacy
- Understanding - want to understand and show empathy
- Proposals. Indirect "Shall we..." "let's..."
- Compromise - avoid conflict
- Feelings - talk about emotions. Talk for a long time about nothing in particular!
Tannen 1990 Men detailed
- Status - want to be top-dog!
- Doesn't want to lose status, wants to be seen as independent - won't check with wife
- Advice - will try and solve problems rather than just listening
- Order - men use imperatives
- Conflict - openly resist opinions they don't agree with. Argumentative!
- Information - talk about 'stuff'
Tannen Information vs Feelings
Also called 'Report vs Rapport'
- Men hold floor more, speak in public, avoid failure, speak one at a time
- Women talk too much, speak privately, build relationships, overlap
Gender and Power
O'Barr and Atkins 1980
Candace West 1984
Nicola Woods 1989
Candace West 1984
Doctor-patient conversations. Powerful doctor interrupts more UNLESS doctor is woman and patient is a white man - then he will interrupt her.
Gender more important than power?
Nicola Woods 1989
Even when women have the higher status, men still dominate conversation. Suggests that gender is more important than power.
O Barr and Atkins 1980
Challenge Lakoff. Looked at courtroom language.
Power more important than gender.
Courtroom experience had impact on language.
Female pathologist who had lots of experience in court used more 'man's language', whilst male ambulance driver with no experience used more 'women's language'
Gender isn't everything. Context is key.
Age, gender, ethnicity, status, class, education, region...
Janet Hyde 2005
Gender similarities hypothesis
Males and females are similar on most psychological variables. Differences are more likely to be due to other variables like age, class, ethnicity, education, occupation, sexuality, politics ...
Makes the point that most researchers are actually looking at biological sex rather than gender. Simply categorising people as men and women is too simplistic.
Like Hyde, stated that gender interacts with ethnicity, age, class etc
Marjorie Goodwin 2006
Studied 9-12yo girls.
Girls gave direct orders, challenged one another, argued about rules and boasted about their skills.
Proposed that girls' behaviour has been downplayed in the past as it didn't fit in with expectations.
Deborah Cameron 2009
'The Myth of Mars and Venus' gender is just one aspect of identity.
There can be as many differences between two women as between a man and a woman.
We should be moving away from notions of masculinity and femininity.
Judith Butler 1990
We shouldn't view gender as binary. We 'perform' our gender, playing a role and conforming to social norms.
"We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman."
Mary Talbot 2010
Gender is socially constructed (note the same phrasing as Lakoff!)
People acquire characteristics which are perceived as 'masculine' or 'feminine'. Language is just one such characteristic.
Jennifer Coates 1988, 1989
We speak differently because girls and boys tend to belong to same-sex friendship groups.
In all-female talk women:
- build on each other's topics
- listen actively, using minimal responses to encourage
- unlikely to disagree with each other
- use hedges / tags to respect face needs
- use tags to ensure others are in agreement
Language is male centred. Women's language is subordinate and men dominate society and therefore language.
An approach of equality. Men and women have been socialised to belong to different sub-cultures.
Peter Trudgill 1974
GENDER & DIALECT
Class more important than gender in determining non SE usage
BUT women in all classes are more likely to use over prestige or RP
Jenny Cheshire 1982
Studied playgrounds in Reading
Differences between boys and girls start in childhood
Peer pressure more important than gender
Koenraad Kuiper 1991
Found that in all-male talk amongst members of a rugby team, insults were used as a way of expressing solidarity
Pamela Fishman 1977
Women do 'conversation shitwork' - yes you read it right! It's women that keep conversations going, not men (who are not very good at it). Questions Lakoff's statement about tag questions and says that they can be used in a powerful way.
- Lakoff said showed uncertainty.
- Coates and Fishman both disputed this - tag ?s show women being cooperative and keeping conversation going.
- Dubois & Crouch - tag ?s in academic setting. Found men used more than women but didn't conclude that men were more hesitant.
- Not all tag ?s are equal: "Nice day, isn't it?" vs "You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?"
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