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Title:

Gender and Language

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Gender and Language Little study of women s speech until 1970s Lakoff: Genderlects women s speech seen as powerless Studies of sex differences in speech – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gender and Language


1
Gender and Language
  • Little study of womens speech until 1970s
  • Lakoff Genderlectswomens speech seen as
    powerless
  • Studies of sex differences in speech

2
Studies of sex differences
  • At first, just added sex as variable
  • Inconclusive resultsnot clear-cut differences by
    sexif statistical difference, reason not clear
  • Form alone (e.g. tag question) not enough need
    to consider meaninge.g., modal and (softening or
    facilitative) affective tags

3
  • Findings consistent with stereotypes accepted,
    inconsistent explained away
  • Not useful to treat all women as though alike
  • Need to consider gender in relation to setting
    and other social categories

4
Gender and Speech (approaches)
  • Gender DifferencesDeficit
  • Gender Differences are sub-cultural
  • Gender Differences reflect dominance

5
Gender Bias in English
  • All people male until proven female.
  • Most occupational titles male. Female doctor,
    female pilot
  • Acting is masculine passively accepting is female

6
Semantic derogation
  • Patron Matron
  • Landlord Landlady
  • Sir Madam
  • Governor Governess
  • Courtier Courtesan

7
  • Lord Dame
  • Gentleman Lady
  • Master Mistress

8
Bias towards women
  • Innocent term describing women becomes negative,
    then abusive, then a sexual slur.
  • More than 500 English words for prostitute.

9
Gender and Speech
  • Gender is a social construct
  • Do gender through activity, in interaction with
    others
  • Do gender in part through speech
  • Gender as performed

10
Performative Postmoderns
  • Gal Cultural constructions of language behavior
    not just ideas that differentiate genders in
    terms of social interaction but are themselves
    sources of power that are enacted and contested
    in talk.
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