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Lecture 20

LING 320 Lecture 20: ling320_03.23.17

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LING 320
Charles Boberg

03/23/17 LING 320 LECTURE 20: Language & Gender Sex Differences - any significant division in a community will be reflected in language differences - age, social class, sex, gender etc. - females and males are distinct subgroups in most societies - fundamental part of human organization, and so there is a social distinction reflected in linguistic distinctions - these distinctions range in vocabularies, morphology, etc. in cases of sex differences - much more subtle differences in frequencies of variants in correlational linguistics based on sex in North America - biggest speech differences are in informal levels of speech, and tend to converge in more formal styles Example: Japanese - Japanese uses indicators in regular speech to identify sex of the speaker - particles and pronouns divided by sex and used in regular speech as an explicit indication of self-identified sex - trend in Japan is to use more neutral speech, often dropping the final particle or even using male pronouns to show resistance to this conventional expression of gender/speech Discourse Level Trends - Deborah Tannen researches how people talk and found cultural and gender differences in discourse styles - interested in how women and men take different approaches to speech e.g.: - common view that men tend to dominate conversations and interrupt (oversimplification) - women tend to expect more backchannel cues (gestures, noises etc. to indicate active listening/participation in the conversation) - men often respond in “problem-solving” ways regardless of whether the woman is looking for advice/more probably searching for comfort and empathy - research on the quantity of speech produced by both sexes, general finding is that women use more communication than men - also researched cultural differences, found that ethnic groups have different expectations of conversation Phonetic/Phonological Trends - all studies find that sex plays a role in determining variable frequencies - main finding is that women tend to use more standard forms than men, tend to use more innovative forms than men during language change Sex/Gender Distinctions - sex is the biological distinction of dna and anatomy - sex is not really the relevant division for studying social behaviour - sex is only a starting point for gender-based social identity - gender is a result of a combination of social constructs and culture - gender: social construction of sex, the set of learned behaviours categorized by male/female - sex
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