Gender, Language and Discourse

By Ann Weatherall | Go to book overview

3

WOMEN'S LANGUAGE?

Introduction

A central characteristic of gender and language research is that it has been dominated by a single major theme-that of difference. The last chapter focused on the topics of sex differences in verbal ability and sex differences in voice, which have primarily been subjects of psychological research. In that chapter I noted that an underlying assumption common to much psychological work is that essential biological characteristics are the cause, or at least the foundation, of the verbal ability or voice differences observed between men and women. However, at best, research has provided equivocal support for the idea that biological, anatomical or structural brain differences between men and women are the cause of any sex differences in voice or verbal ability.

This chapter continues to focus on the sex differences theme that began in Chapter 2, but here the topic is gender and speech styles. Like work on sex differences in verbal ability and voice, research on gender and speech style has largely been based on essentialist assumptions. Unlike investigations into sex differences in verbal ability and voice, however, sex-specific speech styles are generally not considered a consequence of biological sex. Instead, consistent with ideas about social learning, they are seen as the result of socialisation, where people internalise socially and culturally prescribed gender roles.

The huge cross-cultural variability in the speech styles associated with men and women is used to support a social learning explanation of sex differences in language use. As Gal, an anthropological linguist, pointed out, 'male-female differences in speech have been found in every society studied; but the nature of the contrasts is staggeringly diverse, occurring in varying parts of the linguistic system: phonology, pragmatics, syntax, morphology, and lexicon' (1991, pp. 181-182). A commonly cited example used to highlight the cultural diversity is Keenan's (1974) research which found that, in contrast to Anglo-American cultural norms of speech for men and women, Malagasy men characteristically use

-54-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gender, Language and Discourse
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Sexist Language 10
  • 2 - Questions of Difference: Verbal Ability and Voice 32
  • 3 - Women's Language? 54
  • 4 - The Discursive Turn 75
  • 5 - Gender and Language in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis 97
  • 6 - Language, Discourse and Gender Identity 122
  • 7 - Following the Discursive Turn 146
  • References 157
  • Index 175
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 177

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.