Before responding to this discussion, please make sure to review

 

Before responding to this discussion, please make sure to review Robin Lakoff’s article in your learning resources.

In 1973 Lakoff wrote this article about how women use language in comparison to men.  She found that there were phonological differences and also differences in lexicon and syntax. Compared to men, she found that women demonstrated a manner of speaking that suggested a feeling of powerlessness. Some of the differences she found include:

More use of tag questions (“ …, right?”; “ … don’t you think?”)

More using of hedging (“I sort of like it”)

More use of apologetic language (“Sorry to bother you, but …”)

More use of intensifiers (“That’s really really cute!”)

More use of certain “women’s vocabulary” (e.g., a greater range of color terms)

Wider range of intonation (“That dress JUST looks SO good on you! …”)

More use of euphemisms (“I’m going to the bathroom and powder my nose”)

Greater use of diminutive forms (teeny tiny)

Less use of swear words or profanity (“Darn it, all! …”)

Less use of threats and insults

Over the next few days, make note of how women talk compared to men (either in person or on a TV show) and see if you recognize some of these differences.  All of these decades later, do these differences still ring true? If they do, despite women gaining more power in society since this study was conducted, why do you think these differences still exist? If you don’t feel they still exist, why have they disappeared over time?

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