LANGUAGE AND GENDER

INTRODUCTION
‡ If a woman is swept off a ship into the water the cry is, Man is overboard . If she is killed by a hit-and-run driver, the charge is manslaughter . If she is injured in the job, the coverage is workmen s compensation but if she arrives at the threshold marked Men Only she knows that the admonition is not intended to bar animals or plants or inanimate objects. It is meant for her. (Alma Graham, 1973:62)

LANGUAGE AND GENDER
‡ Can language be sexist? ‡ Do men and women use language differently? ‡ If there are differences, how are they different, and what is the message that is conveyed by society about the status of women? ‡ Generally, gender related studies can be divided into two general categories: ‡ One is sexism in L, which refers to the investigation of society s attitude towards men & women. ‡ Differences in the actual speech of men & women

OBEJECTIVES
‡ Identify the semantic difference between the term sex and gender ‡ Identify how L can be sexist ‡ Identify the status of men & women as defined by society ‡ Describe the gender related language differences ‡ Identify the implications of sexist L and gender related L differences in L teaching

. one is male or female.OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS ‡ The term gender is now preferred to sex in research because it takes into account socio-cultural behavior. ‡ The term sex is biological.

h. g. e. Oh dear. They did the right thing didn t they? You re damn right! My goodness. the TV set s broken. c. f. e. b. g. i. d. c. there s the Prime Minister. Close the door. i. j. f. That s an adorable dog. a. Won t you please get me that pencil? I was just exhausted. d. I ll be damned there s a friend of mine. I was very tired. b.SEXISM IN LANGUAGE a. h. M F F M M F F M M F . j.

‡ Lakoff s study suggests that men s L is assertive. ‡ Women s L non-assertive.SEXISM N LANGUAGE ‡ One of the most well-known scholar in gender studies Robin Lakoff. immature & hyperpolite . mature & direct.

Avoidence of strong swear words fudge.FEATURES OF WOMEN S LANGUAGE Lexical hedges or fillers you know. d. euphemisms. g. . cute. f. b. my goodness j. isn t she?. Hypercorrect grammar consistent use of standard verb forms h. c. so in I like him so much. i. Emphatic stress It was a BRILLIANT performance. you see. sort of. Rising intonation on declarative it s really good? Empty adjectives divine. aquamarine Intensifiers just. Precise color terms magenta. Tag questions. a. Superpolite forms indirect requests. charming.g. she s very nice. well. e. e.

as well as the attitudes that condone sexual inequalities between men & women. .SEXIST LANGUAGE ‡ Can language be sexist? ‡ Or is it the speakers of the language who are sexist? ‡ Does language contribute to social inequalities that exist between men & women? ‡ Sexism in English L is a reflection of the social norms of its speakers.

Social roles f. Compliments . Generic structures e. Derogatory images c. Terms of address & reference used g. Morphology d.SEXIST LANGUAGE ‡ There are several ways that women are discriminated against: a. Semantic inequality b.

fireman.SEMANTIC INEQUALITY ‡ English vocabulary is heavily male oriented ‡ Terms chairman. businessman ‡ But why use lady doctor. ‡ Negative connotations are referred to women but not voce versa . policeman. lady driver? negative connotations ‡ The impression is that men normally occupy a higher position. female judge.

but queen has negative meaning. mister . master. mistress & madam negative terms . unmarried man bachelor ‡ A compliment She is as courageous as a man ‡ King is referred to a good leader.Cont ‡ An unmarried woman spinster.+ terms ‡ Dame. ‡ Sir.

there are two fundamental categories. that is. male & minus male.Cont ‡ The semantic rule which has been responsible for the manifestation of sexism in L can be simply stated. Spender (1980) . to be linked to minus male is to be linked to the absence of those qualities. To be linked with male is to be linked to a range of meanings which are positive & good. to be decidedly negative & usually sexually debased.

so she goes to hen parties where she cackles with her friends. In her youth she is a chick. Finally she turns into an old biddy.DERAGOTARY IMAGES ‡ Women are also portrayed in derogatory images compared to men. The chicken metaphor tells the whole story of a girl s life. . then she marries & begins feeling cooped up. Then she has her brood & begins hen-peck her husband. Two of the ways this is done are through animal imagery & food imagery.

honey Less complimentary terms tart. old biddy.‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ The negativity bitch. cow On men stud & wolf (positive connotation) Food imagery Sugar. crumpet . sweetie.

are there gender differences in the use of such imageries? Elaborate. ‡ Is animal imagery used in your native language? If so. .YOUR IDEA ‡ Are there semantic inequalities between the two genders in your native language? Provide examples.

count/countess. usher/usherette.MORPHOLOGY ‡ In the area of morphology. the base structure of many English words takes the male form. hero/heroine. ‡ A female suffix such as ess or ette has to be added to mark it as follows: ‡ Lion/lioness. actor/actress. which again implies that it is the implicit norm. It is the unmarked form. aviator/aviatrix .

the general discovery of gender related studies for English is that women are generally excluded from mention in the English language & are treated disparagingly. suggests that women are not representative of the human species. and that man s L is the standard. irrespective of gender. him or man to represent all humankind. . ‡ To use of he.GENERIC STRUCTURES ‡ The use of he/man as generic has made women invisible. ‡ Only men are. In fact.

she found that he is perceived by men & women. ‡ A study done by Nilsen (1977) among children to interpret Around the world man is happy ‡ Conclusion sexist language /discrimination is learned through society. in the generic sense. . 1983.Cont ‡ In a study done by Martyana in 1978. 1980.

how would you sensitize your students to issues arising from sexism in language? . As a teacher.YOUR IDEA ‡ The use of the generic he/man can be confusing.

scientists & professors are generally referred to as he . engineers. ‡ Doctors.SOCIAL ROLES ‡ Let s a video first! ‡ Gender roles are culturally defined. him and man depends heavily on the assigned sex roles of the referents. ‡ Past studies have found that the use of he. a cleaner or a teacher of unknown sex. architects. . the pronoun she is normally used. ‡ When referring to a nurse.

it is still discriminatory.Cont ‡ The pronoun reference for women is excluded from many professional roles. women will be seen & see themselves as subordinate to men. . ‡ This has damaging consequences on how men perceive women & how women perceive themselves. Even if a sex specific referent is used quite accurately in everyday conversation. As long as this continues.

sweetheart. dear. ‡ Two terms which are freely used by men to address other men mate & buddy ‡ Use on taxi drivers. babe.TERMS OF ADDRESS AND REFERENCE USED ‡ Another aspect of sexist language. honey. do not have the equivalent of these term. sugar & doll . ‡ Instead hon. baby. bartenders ‡ Women in contrast.

Age & rank do not seem to compensate for gender. ‡ Female professors (aged 26 33) were referred to by their 1st or familiar names. ‡ Male professors were referred to by their title & last names > often than the female professors.Cont ‡ Ruben (1981) & Wolfson (1989) conducted several studies on terms of address for male & female professors. ‡ Findings suggest that women are perceived by society as lower in status as compared to men. . How stds address them.

‡ Compliments for women are usually about appearance. . ‡ They entail social judgment on one s performance. ‡ Compliments for men are rarely about appearance.COMPLIMENTS ‡ One of the reasons compliments are given is to elicit a desired response or behavior. ‡ Compliments are given for achievements.

Oh! You cook so well . dress attractively & be competent in domestic matters.Cont ‡ It is suggested one of the reasons for the findings is due to the fact that women are expected to play certain roles. ‡ You have beautiful eyes . . ‡ They are expected to look attractive. you can eat as much as you want . Don t worry about putting on weight.

Lexical Choice Question Intonation in Statements Emphatic modifiers & intonational emphasis Tag questions & hedges Hypercorrect grammar & pronunciation Superpolite forms .GENDER RELATED LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES ‡ According to Lakoff (1973). there are 6 characteristics which distinguish men s & women s speech.

‡ Studies on women¶s gossip reveal many cooperative conversational strategies. ‡ It also includes criticism of others. family & selfaffiliation with others. relationships. ‡ Other findings: -Tags are used for facilitation & encouragement .GOSSIP ‡ Gossip refers to casual or idle talk that takes place in informal contexts. purportedly because women prefer to avoid direct criticisms & open confrontations. problems.provide supportive feedback -Speaking turns is well shared . ‡ Women¶s gossip ± personal experiences.high usage of propositions ± levels of emotional intensity - . ‡ It functions primarily as a means of affirming solidarity & usually associated with women. home.

MEN ‡ Men s conversations involve a lot of disagreements. ‡ Tend to criticize or challenge each other s statements ‡ Long pauses. verbal abuse & mock insults are well tolerated .GOSSIP .

‡ They will ask > questions & encourage others to keep conversing ‡ Cross sex conversations often exhibits the kind of power r/ship that reflects society .WHEN MEN & WOMEN INTERACT ‡ the former tend to initiate the conversation & control its topic & flow ‡ Less likely to be competitive & aggressive ‡ Women on the other hand. keep the interaction flowing & show goodwill. tend to maintain personal r/ships.

VERBOSITY ‡ Women are generally believed to talk more than men. staff meetings. television interviews. jury deliberations) indicates otherwise. . research carried out in a wide range of contexts (conferences. men talk a lot > & have a greater tendency to monopolize the talking time. ‡ H/ever. ‡ It has been found that on the whole.

‡ The task was to orally describe a line drawing. ‡ It was found out men were generally more verbose than women. ‡ They also provided > accurate descriptions compared to men who were > confident & assertive .VERBOSITY ‡ A study carried out by Swacker (1975) on 17 men & 17 women of the same age & economic status. ‡ Swacker found out that women used > hedges & were > likely to express uncertainty compared to men. thus supporting Lakoff s finding.

there was no significant difference in the number of interruptions between the two genders. fathers tend to interrupt more than mothers. ‡ Daughters tend to be interrupted the most. ‡ A well-known study on interruption between genders was carried out by Zimmerman & West (1975) ‡ The finding was when interacting with the same gender. .INTERRUPTION ‡ In domestic situation situations. by both parents.

Cont ‡ In a mixed-gender situation. it was found out that men made almost all the interruptions ‡ Contradicting the myth that women like to interrupt because they like to speak a lot ‡ This study shows that men interrupt women far more frequently than they interrupt other men .

‡ Difference in phonological. .GENDER DIFFERENCES: NONWESTERN COMMUNITY ‡ Gender differences are not UNIVERSAL. In a rural area of Malagasy. ‡ In Amazon. morphological & syntactical levels. the men are passive while the women play the dominant type. men & women speak differently. ‡ Gender roles are s/times reversed.

‡ Malagasy society avoids open confrontation. ‡Malagasy women are straightforward when it comes to expressing anger. ‡ Speakers avoid making others feel uncomfortable. ‡When speech is required. ‡ The men normally will remain passive. dissatisfaction or other sentiments in face-to-face confrontations. . women serve as the norm breakers.

. for e. salesperson. police officer. him/her or one. ‡ Alternatives use they or someone . ‡ Sexism in the use of pronouns ought to be avoided. in the sentence Man like to fish . ‡ Avoid gender bias use chairperson.g. she/he. ‡ Stds need to be made aware of the confusion that may arise from it. It is unclear if ma here is used generically or if it refers to specific geneder. Use plural form.IMPLICATIONS ON EDUCATION ‡ One concerns the use of the generic he/man.

and almost 1st born are male. .IMPLICATIONS ‡ Sexism in teaching materials should be avoided ‡ Past studies have found that most of the characters used in textbooks are men. ‡ The ration of sons to daughters is two to one. ‡ Men & women are routinely portrayed in stereotypical roles.

adapt and adopt when necessary. It is the teachers responsibility to select. so that values that are suitable for the new generation are conveyed to learners. .IMPLICATIONS ‡ It s important that textbook writers and educators remain vigilant and sensitive to the ways in which they portray different groups of people. ‡ Teachers need to be aware of both sexist language usage & sexist bias in their teaching.

‡ THE MAGIC WORD IT S A WRAP!!! ‡ ALL THE BEST TO ALL OF YOU!!! ‡ CHEERS! .

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