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Summary Details

Query:   Gender and Normativity in Spoken Language - Sum
Author:  Yishai Tobin
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Sociolinguistics

Summary:   I would like to first thank those who responded with the following references:
On prosody:
Lowry, Orla. The stylistic variation of nuclear patterns in Belfast English. Journal of the International Phonetics Assocxiation. 2002. 32:1: 33-42
(showed female speakers using fewer cases of vernacular intonation) (thanks to Mark J. Jones, U. of Cambride)

Sociolinguistic studies that attempt to reveal a
correlation between gender and preference for prestigious forms.
One of the most well-known is Labov's 1966 study of the /r/ variable in NewYork City - ''The Social Stratification of English in New York City.'' (see alsoLabov (1972) - ''Sociolinguistic Patterns''). Labov states the fact women are more class conscious than men. they display more ''linguistic insecurity''
(especially among the lower middle class).

Trudgill has also supported this claim in his work in Norwich -
(1974) ''The Social Differentiation of English in Norwich'' and (1978) 'Sex,covert prestige, and linguistic change in the urban British English of Norwich.' Language in Society 1: 179-96.
He concludes that women are more status conscious than men as far as theovertly prestigious forms are concerned; on the other hand, men, especially of the working class, associate the stigmatised (here, covertly prestigious)forms with masculinity and toughness. In self-evaluation tests, women claimed having used the prestigious forms more than they actually did, whereas the men felt they used those forms less than the amount recorded.
This divergence in preference for overt/covert forms in gender is one of the factors, he states, that leads to linguistic change. This has been put forward by Susal Gal in studies of language shift in Austria. (1979) ''Language Shift:
Social Determinants of Linguistic Change in Bilingual Austria.'' New York:Academic Press.
More studies conducted in 'western' contexts:
Macaulay R. (1978) 'Variation and consistency in Glaswegian English' in P.
Trudgill (ed) ''Sociolinguistic Patterns in British English.'' London: Edward
Arnold, pp 132 - 143.
Shuy R.(1970) 'Sociolinguistic research at the Centre for Applied Linguistics:
the correlation of language and sex' in ''International Days of
Sociolinguistics.'' Rome: Istituto Luigi Sturzo.
Wolfram W. (1969) ''A Sociolinguistic Description of Detroit Negro Speech.'' Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistcs.
Horvath (1985) Variation in Australian English: The sociolects of Sydney.Cambridge: CUP.
On a discourse level, there have been studies concerning politeness inlanguage and gender. The basic assumption here is women should be morelinguistically polite as they are deemed the ''judges of manners'' in society.Lakoff (1975) ''Language and Women's Place.'' New York: Harper and Row.
Other references:
Brown (1990) 'Gender, politeness and confrontation in Tenejapa.'' DiscouseProcesses 13: 123-41.
Finlayson (1995)'Women's language of respect: isihlonipho sabafazi' in Mesthrie (ed) Language and Social History: Studies in South African Linguistics. Cape Town: David Philip, pp 140 - 53.
Okamato (1995) '''Tasteless Japanese' : Less feminine speech among young Japanese women'' In Hall and Bucholtz (eds) ''Gender Articulated: Language andthe Socially Constructed Self.'' New York and London: Routledge.
(Many thanks to Arista De Silva, University of Witwatersrand)

On gender-specific effects on prosody, but doesn't treat of normative issues.
author =Fitzsimons, Mary and Sheahan, Noirin and Staunton, Hugh},
title ={Gender and the integration of acoustic dimensions of
prosody: implications for clinical studies},
journal = {Brain and Language},
year = 2001,
volume = 78,
pages = {94--108},
annote = {Men spoke faster the women; Male pitch range on a semitone scale was larger than the women's; male pitch slope was greater (as a result of fast rate?),inter- vs intra-subject analysis confuses me. effects are small. Pitch range is a fn of speech rate, but not utterance length. pitch slope depends on length, but not rate.}
(thanks to Fred Cummins, University College Dublin)

Spanish sociolinguistic studies, including issues related to gender, in Carmen Silva-Corval?n?s (2001) _Sociolong??stica y pragm?tica del espa?ol_ Washington: Georgetown University Press. While Chapter 3 deals specifically with the topic many of the studies reviewed throughout the book look at the gender variable plus there are many references.
(thanks to Andres Enrique-Arias, Universidad de las Islas Baleares)

LL Issue: 15.2184
Date Posted: 28-Jul-2004
Original Query: Read original query


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