LINGUIST List 13.2871

Thu Nov 7 2002

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Yieke "Language..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. fyieke, Discourse Analysis: Yieke "Language and Discrimination..."

Message 1: Discourse Analysis: Yieke "Language and Discrimination..."

Date: Thu, 07 Nov 2002 14:02:24 +0000
From: fyieke <>
Subject: Discourse Analysis: Yieke "Language and Discrimination..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: Vienna University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Felicia Arudo Yieke 

Dissertation Title: 
Language and Discrimination: A Study of Gender and Discourse in Workplaces in Kenya

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: 
Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director 1: Ruth Wodak 
Dissertation Director 2: Florian Menz 

Dissertation Abstract: 

Why is it that somehow, women in the world, and specifically in Kenya
seldom make it to the top, or even in the middle level positions in
the corporate world? What is it that confines them to these
low-levelled positions? This study describes the workplace situation
in Kenya in relation to gender and discourse. It admits that many
factors act as obstacles to women's ascent to powerful positions in
the corporate world. The study is interested in the language factor;
specifically, the discursive practices which ensure that women are
discriminated against, and never rise beyond a certain level (the
glass ceiling). The use of interruptions, questions and topic
organisation as interactional resources within the turn taking process
was thus observed and analysed. The issue of context was also taken
into consideration.

Committee meetings of management and divisional types were
audio-recorded. These were subjected to transcriptions using the HIAT
system. Using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as an interpretative
and theoretical framework, issues of power, ideology, gender and
discourse were addressed and discussed. Conversation analysis was used
as a tool for the analytical process under the wider framework of
CDA. It was found that both gender and power had an influence on the
interaction patterns of men and women, although gender was found to be
more deterministic than power. What ultimately emerged was a picture
where male styles of speaking were significantly different from female
styles. These differences, it was found, are subtle features, which
act as further forces to marginalize or relegate women to the rear.

This study hopes that through CDA, women would be sensitised further,
to know exactly their social and linguistic positioning in the public
and formal domain. This opens way for (re)negotiations for their
rightful positions within the corporate society. This in turn would
help in the emancipation and eventual improvement of the women lot
specifically in Kenya.
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