English Language Theorists: Language and Gender
Terms in this set (11)
Robin Lakoff (1975)
THE DEFICIT MODEL: Female language deficient
Based on idea of Jesperson (1922) that male language is the average/norm.
Female language characterised by:
- Tag questions
- Indirect requests
- Empty adjectives
- Super-polite forms
- Apologise more
- Speak less frequently
- Avoid expletives
- Hyper-correct grammar
- Speak in italics
- No statistical or factual evidence
- "I do not have precise statistical evidence"
Jenny Cheshire (1982)
- Studied playgrounds in Reading
- Differences between boys and girls start in childhood
- Boys use non-standard grammatical constructions more often.
- Boys converge more with their social groups whereas women tend to be more personal in their language
Pamela Fishman (1983)
THE DOMINANCE MODEL: language reflects dominance in society where men are dominant, therefore their language is also dominant.
- Women do the 'conversational shitwork'
- Women have to do this because men don't and they need to keep the dialogue going
- Listened to 52 hours of pre-recorded conversation between young, American couples
- She found that women are 4x more likely to use tag questions
- Not a sign of tentativeness (disagreed with Lakoff) but a way to maintain the conversation.
Deborah Tannen (1990)
THE DIFFERENCE MODEL: Men and women use different language but that isn't used by men to be dominant
- Was a student of Lakoff
Identified 6 areas:
- Order vs proposals
- Advice vs understanding
- Information vs feeling
- Conflict vs compromise
- Status vs support
- Independence vs intimacy
Deborah Cameron (2008)
CHALLENGED TANNEN: No Difference Model
- Idea that men and women speak differently is one of 'the greatest myths of our time'.
- These myths have created ideas that:
1) Women pay attention to be better communicators
2) Men have a natural desire to be competitive which results in an aggressive speech style
3) Women talk about people, feelings, and relationships, whilst men talk about facts and things.
Janet Hyde (2005)
GENDER SIMILARITIES HYPOTHESIS
There are much more similarities between male and female language than there are differences.
Differences may instead come from age, sexuality, ethnicity, politics, education, class, occupation, and so on.
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."
--> Gender isn't innate, you perform as one.
- Can be supported by recent scientific evidence of gender being more of a spectrum and not binary categories.
Criticises Vocal Fry and says women needs to stop using it in the workplace in order to be taken more seriously
Mayhew (2014) Study at Duke University
Studied perceptions on female vocal fry in the labour market:
- Participants said a sentence with and without vocal fry
- Previous study said that male CEOs with a lower voice were more successful (Duke 2014)
- This study determined than a non vocal-fry voice was preferred, however to a greater degree for women than men.
Investigated the ways in which men were discussed in women's magazines.
Found that magazines perpetuated 4 common stereotypes:
1) Men are motivated only by sex
2) Caring for appearance is not manly
3) Straight relationships are the norm
4) Men must make 'the first move'
Found that, despite the general support of feminism, 2 forms of sexism were still present:
1) Projection of bodily improvement ('Ideal Female Body')
2) Lack of minority and older women representation
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