Language and Gender

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Question Pages: 9 (2351 words) Published: January 1, 2013
Language and Gender

Saja Sulaiman

Danny Tasi

Jordan University of Science and Technology


This paper focuses on a very significant thesis that represents the reasons behind the differences in the uses of language amongst men and women in thier social life. However, at the beginning, we must shed the light on the main differences in gender so the reader will be aware of such concepts and relative terms, our roles in this life as females and males affected on us from the time that we were children and that time is very important to start to understand in which way mad us internlising different types of speech and using different lingustics forms or patterns ,

Therefore, for me I am accepting the idea that women and men speak differently and I am also satisfied with the explanations that I found through the books I read from.

Literature Review

There is always a conflict when it comes to issues related to women and men and this conflict also extends to the language they speak. (Therefore,) a lot of questions started to appear in people minds. (Do women speak differently than the men? Are these differences reflections of gender nature? or there're other factors that affect their way of speech . This thesis will deal with these types of questions and illustrate them, so I think that will create a clear image about the similarities and differences and thus help us to be more aware and conscious of the language we use and the way we use it.

Gender language use may play a significant role in the continued marginalization of women in the professions. Women and men make differential use of the linguistic resources available to them (Thorne and Henley 1975; Thorne, Kramarae and Henley 1983; Coates 1986; Graddol and Swann 1989).

Maltz and Borker (1982), using an ethnographic approach, argue that same-sex play in childhood internalizing different conversational rules, with boys developing adversarial speech, and girls developing a style characterized by collaboration and affiliation.

Another support for such distinction comes from more psychologically oriented research on gender identity and moral development (Gilligan 1982; Gilligan et al. 1988) and on gender differences in epistemological development (Belenky et al. 1989), which characterizes the feminine orientation as focusing on the relationship, on connection, and the masculine orientation as focusing on the self, on separateness.

There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that male speakers are socialized into a more competitive style of discourse while women are socialized into a more cooperative style of speech (Kalcik 1975; Aries 1976; Coates 1989, 1991, forthcoming).

In the early nineteenth-century, patterns of gender division changed: men were firmly placed in the newly defined public world of business, commerce and politics; women were placed in the private world of home and family (Hall 1985:12)

Significant consequence of the public-private divide is that the discourse styles typical of, and considered appropriate for, activities in the public domain have been established by men. Thus, women are linguistically at a double disadvantage when entering the public domain: first, they are (normally) less skillful at using the adversarial, information-focused style expected in such contexts; second, the (more cooperative) discourse styles which they are fluent in, are negatively valued in such contexts.

Women who succeed in adopting a more competitive discourse style in public meet other problems, and what is made women in a double-bind: they are urged to adopt more assertive, more masculine styles of discourse in the public sphere, but when they do so, they are perceived as aggressive and confrontational.

In contrast with this, a different point of view is now starting to be heard. A point of view which emphasizes the positive...
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