The Relationship of Gender and Language

1812 Words Jul 10th, 2018 8 Pages
An interest in the relationship between gender and language use has sparked a wide array of studies since the 1960s . Researchers then began questioning the assumption that the different genders, as well as the language patterns associated with them, were biologically determined . While a vast part of the general public still adheres to the notion that there is a natural dichotomy between two completely distinct genders—male and female—it is now widely established in academic circles that this is not the case . The reality is far more complex. The term “sex” is now generally used to denote biological categories, as determined by female or male chromosomes and/or genitals . By contrast, “gender” refers to “a routine, methodical, and …show more content…
It is important to note that these approaches are all linked, and elements from each one can be used to interpret how and why women and men talk the way they do, and what that suggests about them as individuals and as members of society.
Extract 4 presents us with a conversation among four young female flatmates. The subject matter could be described as stereotypically female in that it is relatively trivial, pertaining to household objects and diets. They talk about tableware (l.22 “I’m absolutely loving this glass”, l.25 “this glass”, and l.26-34), which seems to conform with the traditional housewife role that women are (or rather were) meant to occupy, and about their eating habits (l.13 “low fat”, l.46 “diet killer”), linking to many women’s preoccupation with appearance. Lakoff argues that women have been socialized to gravitate towards these kinds of topics—which could be regarded as being irrelevant to the “real” world—because this separates the more serious male subculture from the more trivial female one (Lakoff 1973, p.45). The amount of laughter and the light-hearted tone fit into that argument, although they probably result from these women being comfortable around each other since they share a flat and presumably know each other well.
In Extract 5, we are faced with a group of men, middle-aged and most likely working-class since they work at a car factory. One of them talks at length about a “pretty girl” he met during his naturalization
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