2. 1.Historical Overview: From “Dominance” And “Difference” To Social
2.Social Constructionist Approaches To Language And Gender
3.Variation Across Cultures: Language And Gender In Bilingual And
A.Restricted Exposure To The Presitigiuos Language
B.Women As Cultural Brokers
c.Women As Innovators In Social Change
4.Variation Within Gender Categories
5.Similarity Across Gender
Gender refers to the socially
constructed characteristics of women
and men – such as norms, roles and
relationships of and between groups
of women and men.
4. Language and gender is an area of study within sociolinguistics, applied
linguistics, and related fields that investigates varieties of speech
associated with a particular gender, or social norms for such gendered
Language and gender is an interdisciplinary field of research that
studies varieties of speech (and, to a lesser extent, writing) in terms of
gender, gender relations, gendered practices…
“Language and gender” refers to the relationship between the language
of male and female. Gender difference is not only a reflection of the
speeches between male and female, but also a reflection of their
different living styles and attitudes
6. . The ‘Dominance Approach Provides A Traditional, Negative Evaluation
Of Women’s Speech.
Women’s Linguistic Inadequacies Are Attributed To Societal Inequalities
Between Men And Women, Where Men’s Conversational Dominance
Appears To Reflect The Wider Political And Cultural Domination Of
Men Over Women
One researcher named Deborah Cameron has divided science in
gender and language into three different categories: Deficit,
Dominance And Difference. She claims that all research in the
referring area can be placed in one of three hypotheses. The
hypotheses stand for different convictions regarding female’s use
of language and the reasons for possible differences between
male’s and female’s way of expressing themselves.
7. Cameron viewed male dominance as operative in the every
day verbal interactions of women and men.
men use language to exert power and maintain their
dominance in society.
Zimmerman and West recorded everyday conversations in
informal settings, such as coffee shops and cafes. Their
study reinforced the dominance model, finding that in
mixed sex conversations men interrupted women more,
gave delayed minimal responses to women and also tended
to talk more. In mixed sex conversations, women were
silent more and for longer periods.
8. ). Lakoff (1975) Argues That Women’s Manner Of Speaking,
Which Is Different To Men, Reflects Their Subordinate Status
In Society. Thus, Women’s Language Is Marked By
Powerlessness And Tentativeness,((e.g.hedges, qualifiers/disclaimers,
tag questions, intensifiers) Expressed Through The Use Of Mitigators
And Inessential Qualifiers, Which Effectively Disqualifies Women
From Positions Of Power And Authority. In particular, Lakoff
(1975) argues that women’s language style is deficient, lacking
in authority and assertiveness.
9. Use (super)polite forms: “Would you mind...”,“I'd appreciate it if...”, “...if
you don't mind”. •
Use tag questions: “You're going to dinner, aren't you?” •
Speak in italics: intonational emphasis equal to underlining words - so, very,
Use empty adjectives: lovely, adorable, and so on •
Use hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation: English prestige grammar
and clear enunciation. •
Use direct quotation: . •
women use more words for things like colors, men for sports. •
10. Use question intonation in declarative statements: women make
declarative statements into questions by raising the pitch of their voice
at the end of a statement, expressing uncertainty. For example, “What
school do you attend? Eton College?” •
Use “wh-” imperatives: (such as, “Why don't you open the door?”) •
Speak less frequently • Overuse qualifiers: (for example, “I think
Apologize more: (for instance, “I'm sorry, but I think that...”) •
Use modal constructions: (such as can, would, should, ought -
“Should we turn up the heat?”) •
11. • Use indirect commands and requests: (for example, “My,
isn't it cold in here?” - really a request to turn the heat on or
close a window) • Use more intensifiers: especially so and very
(for instance, “I am so glad you came!”) •
Lack a sense of humor: women do not tell jokes well and
often don't understand the punch line of jokes.
Women make more compliments more than men.
12. Difference Theory
As the title indicates, the difference theory is the idea that
males and females really do converse differently. Difference
Is an approach of equality, differentiating men and women
as belonging to different 'sub-cultures' as they have been
socialized to do so since childhood. This then results in the
varying communicative styles of men and women.
13. Status vs. support - men see language as a
means of asserting dominance; women see it as
a way of confirming/supporting ideas.
Independence vs. intimacy - men "go it alone";
women seek support.
Advice vs. understanding - men see language as
problem solving; women see it as a means of
Information vs. feelings - males are concerned
with the facts; women with emotions.
Orders vs. proposals - men use imperatives;
females use hidden directives.
Conflict vs. compromise - men will argue;
women will try to find a middle ground.
Tannen believes the difference
starts in childhood, where
parents use more words about
feelings to girls and use more
verbs to boys. Males and females
belong to difference sub-cultures
and therefore speak differently.
Her book, You Just Don't
Understand, claims that there
are six main differences between
the ways males and females use
14. Social Constructivist Theory
Due To The Limitations Of The Difference / Dominance Paradigms, It
Was Felt That There Was A Need To Rethink The Theories Of Language
And Gender. Gradually The Study Of Language Began To Move Towards
Understanding Gender As A Constitutive Factor In Building Social
Identities. Freeman & Mcelhinny View “Language Use As Shaping
Understanding Of The Social World” (1996:219) And The Role It Plays
In The Relationships Formed In The Social World In Addition To The
Construction Of Social Identities (Davies & Harre, 1990; Fairclough,
1989; Ochs, 1993; Swann, 1993).
15. Ochs (1993) makes the argument that it is only a small set of
linguistic features that referentially index gender. In fact, Ochs
(1993) further argues that because language is used
dialogically, social identities are not so much created by
language use as they are negotiated and constructed during the
process of interaction.
The main principles of social constructivist gender theory are
that gender is a social construct / construction which is
performative in nature.
16. The "dynamic" or "social constructionist" approach is, as Coates
describes, the most current approach to language and gender.
Instead of speech falling into a natural gendered category, the
dynamic nature and multiple factors of an interaction help a
socially appropriate gendered construct.
Negotiated And Constructed During The Process Of Interaction.
Thus, the main principles of social constructivist gender theory are
that gender is a social construct / construction which is performative
in nature.These ideas were theorized by Goodwin (1998) and Eckert
& McConnell – Ginet (2003). Goodwin conducted an ethnographic
study of language and gender in a single community and argues that
rather than analyzing individual entities such as cultures /genders/
groups/ individuals, the basic unit of analysis should be the activity.
Eckert & McConnell – Ginet (1995) argue that gender constructs are
embedded in other aspects of social life, for example significant
categories like those involving class, race or ethnicity.
19. Restricted exposure to the prestigious language
Exposure refers to the contact that the learner has with the language
that they are trying to learn, either generally or with specific language
points. Referring to the language in general.
Men have been found to use a prestige language more than woman
do .women are more restricted to the private sphere and the
immediate community while men regularly have wider social contacts
outside the local community.
20. Hill`s study of language use in the Mexican region of the Malinche Volcano Hill (1987) Pointed To The Importance Of Gender In Shaping Peoples`
Language Choices. In This Study Hill Looks At Different Ways Men And
Women Use Mexicano Which Is Indigenous Language Of Mexico And Spanish
.Men And Woman Living In The Rural Communities Are Bilingual.
Women are much less likely than men to participate in regular wage labor
and, on this basis, one might speculate that women would be less
proficient in Spanish than men. Indeed, members of the community
believe just this: Women are said to “lag” linguistically, that is, they are
believed to be more often monolingual in Mexicano, their Mexicano is
believed to be less influenced by Spanish, and their Spanish is believed to
be more influenced by Mexicano.
21. women were less likely than men to be educated or to be
involved in migrant labor.
they have restricted access to Spanish.
women’s role in bilingual communities as that of
“guardians” of the traditional .language
22. Women as cultural brokers
The culture broker was a person, usually from the local community,
who understood both the local culture and the culture of the
colonial rulers. This person frequently brokered conflicts by
explaining to each side what the other side meant or wanted.
Medicine (1987) coins the term “cultural broker” to characterize the
role that women often assume in Native American communities.
23. In describing the effects of white domination on the Lakota Sioux,
Medicine (1987, p. 163) reports that it was typically the women who
were “recruited to work in the houses of missionaries and of other
agents of change” and as a result they became more proficient in
English than men. At the same time, women were also expected to be
the major socializers of children and taught them, according to
Medicine, “that interaction in two different worlds required entirely
different languages.” within Medicine’s and Zentella’s investigations,
women, more often than men, were the proficient bilinguals because
they assumed a “cultural broker” role in their communities. That is,
in addition to being the preservers of the indigenous traditions,
women in these communities were also expected to mediate between
the dominant and minority communities.
25. Women as innovators in social change.
In bilingual communities, they seem to be extremely
important in determining the direction of language choice.
That’s according to research by Susan Gal, who found that
“young women are more advanced or further along in the
direction of the linguistic change than older people and
26. Women as innovators in social change
Gal focuses on the Hungarian-German bilingual community of
Oberwart, Austria, exploring the effects of urbanization and
industrialization on women’s and men’s choice of Hungarian versus
German. Young peasant women are leading in the shift from
Hungarian to German in this community, because, Gal argues, the
peasant lifestyle associated with Hungarian is one they wish to reject.
Although for men a peasant life offers self-employment, independence,
and autonomy, for women it consists of strenuous and time-consuming
manual labor. Thus, Gal explains young women’s linguistic choices in
terms of their desire to distance themselves from a life that is
symbolically and practically associated with Hungarian.
27. The Motivation And Incentives For Learning A Second
Language May Differ For Women And Men, Depending On
The Types Of Opportunities That A Second Language
Creates Or Makes Available To Them In Particular
Communities. It Is Noteworthy That The Women In
Oberwart Had Access To The Hungarian, But Rather Than
Assuming A “Cultural Broker” Role, They Strategically
Employed German In Order To Escape Their Social Position
28. Variation within Gender Categories: Variation Theory and
Communities of Practice
Variation is a characteristic of language: there is more than one way of
saying the same thing. Speakers may vary pronunciation (accent, word
choice (lexicon), or morphology and syntax (sometimes called
Men and women, on average, tend to use slightly different language
styles. These differences tend to be quantitative rather than qualitative.
That is, to say that women use a particular speaking style more than
men do is akin to saying that men are taller than women (i.e., men are
on average taller than women, but some women are taller than some
29. Nichols determined that different groups of women in an all-
black speech community on the coast of South Carolina behaved
differently with respect to the adoption of standard linguistic
variants. Nichols found that women’s linguistic behavior was
driven by their relation to the local labor market, rather than by
“some generalized response to the universal condition of women”
. suggest that women and men, like members of different cultural
groups, learn different communicative styles because of the
segregated girls’ and boys’ peer groups they play in as children.
Indeed, women are said to develop cooperative speech styles
because of the non-hierarchical nature of all-girl groups, whereas
men are said to develop competitive speech styles because “boys
play in larger, more hierarchically organized groups than do girls”
30. During the last few decades, rigid role patterns have
changed and as a result gender notions have changed as
well. Men and women are increasingly becoming each other
equals in areas of education and profession. This implies
that, in Western society anyway, the concept of masculinity
no longer exclusively brings to mind the image of tough
guys who work all day and leave the upbringing of their
children to their wives; it can now also be associated with
men who take care of children and do domestic chores
31. . Men are encouraged to open up and share their
feelings, whereas this was quite unusual in the times of
rigid role patterns. Women can now work in almost
every profession they aspire to, and they can continue to
work after having children without being regarded as
32. As language helps people to create their identity and their
gender, it makes sense to assume that when peoples` ideas
of masculinity and femininity change, their language
changes as well. the language of men and women is
becoming more similar as a result of changing gender
33. McElhinny’s study of the interactional styles of male and female police
officers in Pittsburgh offers a particularly striking example of such a
setting. In moving into a traditionally masculine workplace, female
police officers did not adopt an empathetic and warm interactional style
associated with many traditionally female workplaces (e.g., nursing,
secretarial work, social work), as might be expected; rather they
appropriated a masculine (linguistic) identity in dealing with the public.
More specifically, McElhinny (1995, p. 220) argues that both women
and younger, college-educated men in the police force adopted a
“bureaucratic” interactional style – a rational, emotionless, and efficient
interactional style associated with middle-class masculinity. That is,
engaged in the same workplace practices, the women and the younger,
college-educated men of the Pittsburgh police force adopted similar
The relationship between language and gender is not a direct one,
but one mediated by the social practices and activities that come to be
“gendered” in particular communities or cultures. then investigations
of gender and bilingualism are most fruitfully carried out in relation
to those culture- or community-specific social practices and activities.
We know the complicated relationship between gender and
language. After reviewing the former researches into this topic, we
can see the shortcomings, and the similarities between the language
of male and female are as important as differences.