Gender And The Use Of Tag Questions

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Gender and the Use of Tag Questions One of the most important aims of sociolinguistic studies is to examine the correlation between language variation and gender. It focuses on the differences between men and women and their use of language. Robin Lakoff (1973) is one of the early feminists who write about this topic. In her work she introduces the idea of “women speech” that is a variety of the language used by women. She mentions some linguistic devices used by women that mark their language as powerless. In this paper, we will focus on one of these devices: the use of tag question. The first section of the paper will focus on Lakoff’s point of view on the usage of tag question. In the other part we will mention some of the…show more content…
Another feature of tag question is polarity of the main clause, which is reversed in the tag: a positive main clause gets a negative tag, a negative main clause gets a positive tag. English also have situations where there is a match between the main clause and the tag but it has a different function other than of the polarity-reversed tags. There is also another kind of tags that called invariant tags in which the form of the tag is the same and is not affected by the attached main clause. We can say that when the speaker is declaring a claim but without enough confidence about the accuracy of that assertion, the speaker is more likely to use tag question. Lakoff mentions different situation of using tag questions in her article. She describes one situation as the legitimate situation of using tag question in which the speaker thinks that the addressee has a better view on the topic under discussion, for example: (1) I had my glasses off. He was out at third, wasn 't he? Another situation in which tag question is used is in cases when both the speaker and the addressee know what is the answer and there is no need for any confirmation. This situation is when the speaker is trying to make a conversation with the addressee as in (2): (2) Sure is hot here, isn 't it? There are situations where the speaker uses tag question to state an opinion but in a reluctant way and seek the opinion of addressee:
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