Gender Theorists


A Levels English Language (Language and Gender) Flashcards on Gender Theorists, created by Hazel Meades on 28/03/2014.
Hazel Meades
Flashcards by Hazel Meades, updated more than 1 year ago
Hazel Meades
Created by Hazel Meades over 9 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
Otto Jespersen (published The Woman in 1922) Women's vocabulary is less extensive than men's. Women use adjectives and hyperbole a lot. Development of new words is only for men's speech due to the early division of labour between the sexes. Women prefer indirect expressions. Male language is the norm which women deviate from. Women talk too much, go round in circles and never finish their sentences. Novels by women are easier to read because they use fewer difficult words.
Robin Lakoff (published Language and Women's Place in 1975) Women hedge more, use super-polite forms, use tag questions, use empty adjectives, speak less frequently, use question intonation in declarative statements, overuse qualifiers, apologise more, use modal constructions, avoid coarse language, use indirect commands, have a special lexicon, lack a sense of humour and use wh- imperatives. These are all due to women's lack of confidence.
O'barr and Atkins (1980s) Studied courtroom cases for 30 months and found that language differences are based on situation-specific authority, not gender. Speech patterns suggested by Lakoff weren't limited to just women or characteristic of all women. Women who had the lowest frequency of female traits had a high status, as did the men.
Zimmerman and West (1975) Men were responsible for 96% of interruptions in mixed sex convos (known as the dominance theory). Some people (mostly women) feel disturbed, stop talking and refuse to continue. Others ignore it or feel supported. In same-sex convos interruptions were distributed evenly.
Peter Trudgill Women tended towards hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation in aiming for higher prestige (above their social class). Men tended to use a low prestige pronunciation, seeking covert prestige by appearing "tough" or "down to earth". Men tended to claim they used more non-standard forms than they did. Women tended to mark themselves as using more standard forms than they did.
Deborah Cameron (published Verbal Hygiene in 1995) Women's verbal conduct is important in many cultures. Women are often instructed on how to speak. The acceptance of a "proper" speech style can be described as verbal hygiene.
Janet Holmes Women are more polite than men, use more positively oriented politeness whilst men's is more negatively oriented (men use language as a tool for information, women use it as a social function), women pay and receive more compliments using them to build connections whilst men often see compliments as face-threatening. Men use compliments to make evaluative judgments.
Deborah Tannen (published You Just Don't Understand) Men's language vs women's language can be viewed like this: status vs support, independence vs intimacy, advice vs understanding, information vs feelings, orders vs proposals, conflict vs compromise, report talk vs rapport talk, interruptions vs overlapping, high involvement vs high considerateness and male talk being viewed as the norm.
Jennifer Coates Men's talk is achievement oriented and focuses on retellings of activities. Topics are less sensitive and they will go into detail, taking turns to monologue. Men enjoy verbal sparring, constructing friendships through playful, competitive conflict. 72% of men's stories involved only men.
Fishman In mixed sex conversations men speak for approximately 2xs as long as the average time for a woman.
Jenny Chesire Investigated adolescent speech at a playground and found similar patterns to adults. A boy who used non-standard forms most had a reputation for tough, deviant behaviour whilst a boy who used them less frequently was often the victim of other boys' jokes and excluded from group activities.
Deficit approach Women use weaker versions of male forms.
Dominance approach Men are dominant/controlling in conversation.
Difference approach Men and women belong to different sub-cultures, hence language differences.
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