JAL355H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Gender Binary, Masculinity, Statistical Hypothesis Testing
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Introduction to Language and Gender
Some major questions in Language and Gender (questions to think about throughout the course)
• What linguistic practices are understood to be “masculine” or “feminine”?
• How and why are those practices seen as masculine or feminine?
• How do people use language to construct gender (for example, to create different masculinities
and femininities)? How do people use language to subvert gender?
• In what ways do different people construct and participate in social hierarchies, and what is the
relation of gender to this enterprise?
• How and why do specific gendered groups do some linguistic things differently?
• How is the interpretation of language shaped by a speaker’s gender?
• How do certain questions or assumptions about language strengthen the
dichotomy between men and women, or the gender binary more generally?
Two key properties of the relation between language and gender
Adapted from Ochs (1992):
1. Non-exclusive relation
• Linguistic resources that index gender rarely only index gender
2. Constitutive relation
• Linguistic resources index social meanings which in turn help to
constitute gender meaning
For example: verbal ability
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