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Language and Gender research formally

began in the 1970s.


Contributions to the topic from other
areas-anthropology, education, womens
studies, social psychology, etc.
Different types of studies have looked at
gender: variationist (quantifying gender
differences), interactional studies (context,
same-gender, mixed-gender), Fluid models
(e.g. unisex), Alternative contexts for
communication.

Direct relationships between gender & language


(e.g. Japanese, Hopi, etc).
Language & gender research concerned with:
Male and female differences
Gender cultural difference verses power and dominance

Gendered language use interpreted as reflecting


pre-existing & maintaining social distinctions
Past: Gender roles were more well defined
Present: Subgroups within those gender categories
Future: Lack of language-gender differentiation possible

Labovs New York City


Not only did language vary based on
socioeconomic status. . .
But he found women use more prestige
features (status conscious) , men more
vernacular features (overt prestige)
Problems with methodologies
Social class divisions not necessarily accurate
Interpreting differences - lack of convincing evidence

Caribs (men) Arawak (women)

10% vocabulary not shared by both sexes

Native American languages

Different verb forms in Koasati, Hopis Thank You

Japanese

Women- Formal pronouns in informal situations


Women- Absence of deprecatory pronouns

South African-Xhosa speakers

Hlonipha-womens language of respect

German women reference- Video

Direct relationships between gender & language


(e.g. Japanese, Hopi, etc).
Language & gender research concerned with:

Male and female differences


Gender cultural difference verses power and dominance

Gendered language use interpreted as reflecting


pre-existing & maintaining social distinctions
Past: Gender roles were more well defined
Present: Subgroups within those gender categories
Future: Lack of language-gender differentiation possible

Differing features of conversational style


Amount of talk (Coates)

Mixed groups-men talk more especially in formal & public contexts


Same sex groups- amt. talk equal

Interruptions (Zimmerman & West)

Men interrupt women more than vice versa

Conversational support (Fishman)

Women gave more conversational support than men leaving more opportunities for mens
stories to get expanded upon.

Tentativeness (Lackoff, 1975, Holmes, 1995)

Women use more hedges and tag questions,

Compliments (Metshire, et. al., 2001)

Women pay and receive more compliments

Topic of talk (Coates, Tannen)

Women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy (Tannen), Personal
Topics (Coates)
Men speak and hear a language of status and independence (Tannen), Non-personal
Topics (Coates)

What are your mixed-gender miscommunication


experiences?

MALTZ & BORKER

Gender Communication Differences Learned as Children.


I Just dont Understand You

Minimal responses indicate attention for women, but for men they
signal agreement -> why females use them more
Women- mmmhmm = Im listening.
Men mmmhmmm = I agree.

TANNEN- Its Just a Difference

Men and Women just have different communication expectations.


Men say to women fight for your right to topic

Men want women to mount resistance when they lead the conversation in
another direction and take center stage byu telling a story, etc. Womens
overlapping agreements and support seen as interruptions
Women are irritated by men who interrupt to change eht conversational
topic.

Lakoff (1975) Informal Observations and Intuitions


Deficit model of language use
Womens speaking style (uncertainty and hesitancy) denies
them access to power.

Zimmerman & West (1975)- Empirical Study of


Conversation
Interruptions- more occurred in mixed-sex groups, most by
men.
Women are not inadequate but men oppress women with their
interruptions, denying them an = status as a communication
partner

UCHIA & TROEMEL-PLOETZ- Men are BAD!


CAMERON- Men are BAD!
COATES- Dont call it dominance
You dont have to put down men to bring up women.

Direct relationships between gender & language


(e.g. Japanese, Hopi, etc).
Language & gender research concerned with:
Male and female differences
Gender cultural difference verses power and dominance

Gendered language use interpreted as reflecting


pre-existing & maintaining social distinctions
Past: Gender roles were more well defined
Present: Subgroups within those gender categories
Future: Lack of language-gender differentiation possible

Past Concrete & Established Gender Identity


Men and Women had more defined gender roles

Remember the Language Forms


Japanese pronouns & deprecatory words

Lack of Mobility - less interaction with different


communication styles
Nichols (1979) the women who took less traditional
work roles outside of the homes & further from their
homes experienced language variation different from
those who stayed home. Older women and men stayed in
local community and maintained their Creole language

Value placed on upholding traditions (language)

Past no mobility-meant there werent as many


subgroups to identify with. Male, female, or
undesirable.
Present: Greater subgroups to choose from due to
increased interactions/mobility (Nichols).
More flexible gender roles

Milroy- language reflects community integration as opposed


to gender differences

Female gender is more flexible

German school girls


Japanese school girls
Women can violate gender rules more easily than men can
(posture, etc. ) however, that gap is beginning to close (stay
at home dads, dancing, etc.)

Childrearing Practices

Value of Identifying Gender Immediately


Maltz & Borker
Single Sex Peer Groups from an early age

Media

Advertisements, etc.

Sunderland (1995)

German classroom research


The boys reported they would not say, were girls.
Its not possible.
girls forfeit gender for participation Were boys!

People taking on different gender roles


Transexuals
Electronic Communication lack of gender identification
and adress on the internet may effect how people
habitually interact (McAdams).

Japanese Girls using vernacular terms in school but


not with their elders.
In the future a heterosexual man may say to another
heterosexual male friend, youre a diva and mean it
as a compliment.
Written Language Paradox- he/she. In the future will
we create new vocabulary (shim)?

Metshire, Swainn, Deumert, & Leap (2000).


Gender and Language Use. In Introducing
Sociolinguistics. Philadelphia: John
Benjamins Publishing. (216-247).
Tannen, D. (1994). Interpreting interruption
in conversation. In Gender & discourse.
Oxford University Press (53-79).