Male/Female Language: With a Comprehensive Bibliography

Male/Female Language: With a Comprehensive Bibliography

Male/Female Language: With a Comprehensive Bibliography

Male/Female Language: With a Comprehensive Bibliography

Excerpt

Not another book on women!

The difference today is that now the books about women are being written by women. This should enhance the information and perspectives on the problems of human relationships. Here we might recall the old fable about the lion and the painting. The story goes that a lion was looking at a painting of a hunter slaying a lion, and he commented, "Yes, but who painted the picture? A lion might have done it differently. " As I researched the linguistic studies on "women's language, " it became abundantly clear that men were left out. Note the many titles in the bibliography which refer only to women's language. Often the studies simply reiterated the old saw that women were peculiar and their speech types "abnormal" or "cute" or somehow less than normal. Equally balanced studies of female and male differences and varieties are needed, in order to understand the whole.

This book is an expansion of a paper which I delivered at the American Dialect Society in New York in 1970. I first became aware of male/female differences in language when I heard them many years ago in a South American Indian language located in the rainforest of the great Amazon region.I became seriously involved in observing male/female differences several years ago when I initiated a course on male/female language at the University of California.It may have been the first course on this subject ever taught. From that course I prepared an outline and bibliography which were included in Female Studies: No. 2, published by theModern Language Association. I am writing at a time when male and female usage is very much in a state of transition. What is said today must be revised tomorrow. Some of the examples will seem out of date; others will be ahead of their time.

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