English Language Men and Women Differnces

Topics: Gender, Politeness, Gender role Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: September 29, 2010
Write an article for men? magazine on whether or not men and women? language is different.

There are many theorists who debate whether men speak differently to women, most have tests and experiments to back these theories up. But let? start from the woman who started all this off, her name was Robin Lakoff and she was one of the first linguists to take interest into the difference of men and women? speech. She analysed the links between language and gender in her book ?anguage and women? place where she questions who holds the power in a conversation and how they use it. Lakoff argued that language is fundamental to gender inequality and it could contribute to the lack of women? power in two areas which were language used about women and the language used by women.  Lakoff stated that there were certain features of women? language that gave the impression that women are weaker and less certain than men are. Women? language was distinguished in a number of ways including:

Using hedges in speech which shows uncertainty (e.g. words like sort of)

Being very polite and using negative face (e.g. if it? not too much to ask could you)

Use of tag questions which also shows uncertainty there are two types modal tags which show uncertainty and affective tags which do not show uncertainty but shows a concern for the addressee

Use of empty adjectives like lovely and sweetie

Although this theory is interesting it didn? have any backup it was just a weird lady coming up with gender differences, A study by O?arr and Atkins study challenged Lakoff? theory as they studied courtroom cases and witnesses' speech. In researching what they describe as ?owerless language they show that language differences are based on situation-specific authority or power and not gender. Of course, there may be social contexts where women are (for other reasons) more or less the same as those who lack power. But this is a far more limited claim than that made by Dale Spender, who...
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