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Language and Gender Differences between male and female speech noticed some time ago Not studied systematically until recently Some are very obvious –

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Presentation on theme: "Language and Gender Differences between male and female speech noticed some time ago Not studied systematically until recently Some are very obvious –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Language and Gender Differences between male and female speech noticed some time ago Not studied systematically until recently Some are very obvious – pronouns Other differences are discovered by sociolinguistic research

2 Some gender differences Reports of different male and female languages usually exaggerated differences in language shift different dialects or accents marrying out

3 Japanese different phonology, morphology and vocabulary supposedly reflect the role of women as polite, gentle, passive

4 continued Women s form -- men s form (traditional Japanese) Otoosan oyaji (father) Onaka hara (stomach) Taberu kuu (eat)

5 Hlonipha Xhosa-speaking women must avoid syllables in their in-laws names replaced with deletions, paraphrase, loan words

6 continued Respect for husband s family inferior status of women Result – a lot words used only by women

7 Language and gender in English English – differences less obvious -- phonological Linked to social class studies of language and social class also showed gender differences Applies in many places in UK, US, Australia, new Zealand

8 continued In NYC women used post-vocalic /r/ more often Norwich – women used – ing, men used – in more often Tyneside men used glottalised – p more often

9 continued Verbal duelling – typically masculine Yo momma – white chicks Rap battles – Eight Mile Turkish rhymed insults English football chants

10 Gender and Language change Studies of linguistic change in Norwich, Engliand and Belfast, N Ireland Men lead change from below vernacular forms spread upwards – glottalisation in British English

11 continued Women lead change from above Introduce standard forms Mrs Hall rather than Mizall in Leeds

12 Language and networks Belfast – women worked outside community – introduced new forms from outside Similar pattern among African Americans in South Carolina islands

13 Language and Identity Language used to express identity but gender variation Jocks and Burnouts in Detroit suburban high schools identified with suburbs and city Gender differences

14 continued Burnout girls adopted urban rather than suburban forms but less than boys Occasionally used taboo words in single sex groups Boys frequently Jock boys used taboo words in SSGs but not in front of women

15 Explanations of gender difference Attempt to acquire social status by using standard forms – probably true of NYC Women forced to use distinctive forms as a sign of inferiority – Xhosa Women as guardians of cultural values – unlikely to explain interaction with children

16 continued Standard forms are considered polite – politeness is not required of superior groups Expression of machismo Gender sorting at a young age – differences appear at 6 in some cases Probably all true in different degrees in different places

17 Language and discourse Men talk more than women, especially in public Men interrupt women more than vice- versa Women are more supportive of other speakers

18 continued Women more likely to use hedges Men more likely to use boosters Women more likely to use compliments But problems of method and bias

19 Language and Discourse Why is there no K in J.K. Rowling s birth certificate

20 Sexist language Masculine gender to include women Negative connotations of feminine words Master -- mistress Working girl Sir – madam Wizard – witch Many words for sexually promiscuous women But rent boy, toy boy

21 Non-sexist language Movement especially in US He becomes he or she Fireman – firefighter Policeman – police officer Mrs/miss becomes ms

22 Explanations Physical – may explain intonation but not much else Genetic – unpopular until recently - -but research by Baron-Cohen – differences in male and female brains – systems vs relationships

23 continued Social/ cultural Will explain many cases – group identity, social mobility, discrimination but why so widespread?


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