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Ahearn Chapter 9.docx

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Jessica Taylor

Chapter 9 – Language and Gender 4 characteristics of concept of Gender (Penelope Ekhart and Sally McConnell) - Gender is learned: children either unconsciously adopt or are consciously instructed in gender appropriate behaviour that varies across societies and throughout historical time - Gender is collaborative: activities acquire meaning from social contexts, gender is joint accomplishment through interaction with others - Gender is not something we have, but something we do: gender is performed, gender is not static and unchanging element of someone’s identity but rather an ongoing process of doing. - Gender involved symmetry: inequality is built into gender at a very fundamental level, masculine and feminine ways of doing are considered simply different - Masculine practices are “unmarked - They are taken as the norm for all humans and anything that departs from them are considered different or “marked.” i.e. feminine ways of speaking or acting - Markedness highlights gender as it appear in the realm of grammar - Masculine pronouns in English is unmarked - Using he, his and him as common sex pronouns is now widely considered sexist and misleading Amalia Sa’ar Study - Masculine Generics in Hebrew and Arabic - Female speakers of both these languages often use masculine grammatical forms as generics to refer to themselves and their female addressee. - Women who used these masculine grammatical forms generally did so unconsciously - Women felt using masculine grammatical forms helped them in public or professional spheres - Others thought it was a function of their particular dialect of Hebrew or Arabic - Sa’ar claimed generalized feminine tale brings the female gender to the forefront instead of denying it Elinor Ochs Study - Noted large part of the way language and gender are connected involves INDIRECT indexicality, not direct. - Idexicality helps us understand which linguistic features, styles or discourses index or point to gendered identities or practices - Indirect indexicality works differently in each particular community of practice - Ochs described two very different styles of linguistic interaction between mother and children : White U.S. and Westers Samoa o In white middle class communities of U.S. mothers tended to accommodate to their children using simplified language o Western Samoan mothers refused to accommodate their children - Samoan mothers reserved accommodating for high status foreigners who could not speak Samoan - Ochs argued that ACCOMODATION is universally associated with the actions of lower raking individuals in the presence of higher status individuals - Different perceptions of lower ranking individuals (children vs. Foreigners) - The same linguistic practice – accommodation to a nonfluent speaker – indirectly indexes two very different social identities in these two societies Deborah Tannen Study - Women are much more likely to engage in “rapport talk” – talk that co operatively establishes and maintains social relationships - Men tend to use “report talk” talk that conveys straightforward information rather than emotion or gossip - Much of his findings were ASSUMED not investigated systematically - Scholars in early years of language and gender research largely accepted that these fundamental differences existed - Assumed existence of dramatic across-the-board differences in how men and women talked Janet Hyde Study - Gender Similarities Hypothesis - According to Hyde Gender differences model that populated media is inaccurate and harmful when it comes to most variables including alleged gender differences in communication - Conducted meta-analysis on verbal and non verbal behaviours among males and females of various ages - On all contexts girls produced slightly more talk than boys but difference is NEGLIGIBLE Matthias Mehl Study - Studies talkativeness among large groups for longer period of time - Studied 400 college students to measure gender differences in average number of words spoken - Students were rigged with digital recorders and students did not know when they were being recorded – programmed to record 30 seconds every 12.5 minutes - Researched transcribed all the words spoken and estimated total number of words spoken - Women spoke 16,215 words per day and men 15,669 - Data was NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT - Data failed to reveal a reliable sex difference in daily word use Majorie Harness Goodwin - Long term analyses of the linguistic and social interactions in several groups of children - Immersed herself in the actual social worlds of the children as much as possible and presents them as agents who construct their own social relationships and hierarchies through talk - First Ethnography - In some girl’s activities like making rings out of glass bottle rims – girls cooperate and use supportive ta
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