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Language and Gender Interaction - Essay Example

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The idea of women employing a register of speech different from that used by men has been around for a long time. The veracity and authenticity of this claim has not been conclusively brought out. Lakoff, Robin (1975) was the first to officially spark off debate about women's language being markedly different from men's…
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Language and Gender Interaction
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, Lakoff also goes further to point out that women find themselves in a no win situation; when they use powerless talk they are not taken seriously and when they become assertive they are frowned upon.
This paper is a report on a study carried out to verify whether women indeed employ a register of speech different from that of men. The study also sought to find out if the manner of speech depended on the type of audience being addressed. The audience variables included same sex, mixed sex and an audience younger than the speaker (Children).
The rationale of this study was to provide facts, if any were found to exist, about the issue of gender determined language. More often than not, allegations that are mostly aimed at trying to put women down in the social hierarchy have been made to the effect that it exists. Such allegations have rarely been supported by factual data. This study therefore aimed to gather factual data that could contribute to shedding light on whether women's manner of speaking is different from that of men. This could shed light and give direction to the debate.
The main thrust of gender-based analyses of language has been the norm-and-devia...
The masculine manner of speech is therefore the norm while the feminine method is the deviation, Hall, K. and Bucholtz, M., (1995). This forms the basis upon which the linguistic behavior of either gender is judged.
Cameron, et al (1988) point out that it can't be a coincidence that men are aggressive and hierarchically organized conversationalists while women ate expected to provide support to conversation. This position seems to point out to an actual existence of differences in manner of and role in speech delivery that is dictated by individual gender. Indeed that existence of this gender schism is a matter widely taken for granted especially when religious scriptures with Judeo-Christian allegations of male supremacy come into play. Hard data to support such conventions is what is direly needed and there is too little of it. For instance, there is little evidence that in mixed gender gatherings women talk more than men. This is an issue that is assumed rather than proven to be true.
Linguists Tannen, Deborah (1994) and Holmes, Janet (2006) have investigated conversational styles in business corporations to verify the gender stereotypes. Their study found that gendered speech does not exist along a continuum. Instead, both males and females use masculine and feminine forms of expression at different times in different contexts. One such context variable is the nature of the speech community. A speech community denotes any group of people coming together to discuss any given issue of mutual interest. Such a community can range from pupil s in a classroom to a crowd at an accident scene. As soon as the group is formed, rules of engagement in the conversation emerge. People will therefore talk differently ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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