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How do men and women use language differently?
Trudgill (1983) & Cheshire (1982)-women tend to use accents from a higher social class than men to give them overt prestige.
The prestige of being associated with a respectable, well off section of society.
Using non standard language can make someone seem a bit rebellious & independent e.g. cockney accent. Men tend to seek this type of prestige more than women.
4 reasons women may seek overt prestige
- 1. Women may be less secure in their social status
- 2. Society expects higher standards of behaviour from women
- 3. Men already have a higher social status
- 4. Non standard language may be associated with working class men
Politeness features of women's language-Lakoff (1975)
- Hedges & fillers-sort of, kind of
- Apologetic requests-I'm sorry but..
- Tag questions-this is nice, isn't it?
- Indirect requests-It's very noisy out there-meaning can you close the door.
Other features of women's language according to Lakoff
- Speak less
- Fewer swear words
- More intensifiers like so or very
What is the deficit model?
Lakoff said that these language features made women's language inferior to men's and stops women from being taken seriously.
How did O'Barr & Atkins dispute Lakoff's deficit model?
In 1980 they analysed courtroom trials-witnesses of low social status showed same language features-deficit model is found in males or females when they feel powerless.
Zimmerman & West (1975) Based on men interrupting more-men dominant in male-female conversations
- Tannen (1990) Described male-female conversations in terms of difference.
- Status vs support
- Direct vs indirect
- Facts vs empathy
These are words that reveal a person's gender e.g. policeman
When a marked term is used to refer to both genders e.g. mankind
Pairs of words that mean the same but are unbalanced e.g. bachelor & spinster
Words used by speakers that imply superiority e.g. women referred to as girls