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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: The Interplay of Genres, Gender, and Language Ideology among the Muskogee
Author: Pamela Innes
Institution: University of Wyoming
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Creek
Abstract: Contrary to statements made by previous researchers, Muskogee women are linguistically active in ceremonial public spheres, though through the use of genres that differ significantly from men's. One of the genres performed in these contexts is “gossip,” which is described by some Muskogee men as a dangerous genre. This article explores why Muskogee women's and men's linguistic practices differ so strikingly in the ceremonial sphere, and what women achieve through their use of gossip. It is suggested that consideration of Muskogee language and gender ideologies in regard to these issues shows that gendered language use differences are rational and maintain balance between the genders. Insights from both ideologies also indicate that women's gossip is a powerful genre, the use of which is generally positive for Muskogee society.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 35, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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