Gender and Age. Raung-fu Chung. The Differences between Sex and Gender. Sex － refers to categories distinguished by biological characteristics Gender － is more appropriate for distinguishing people on the basis of their socio-
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Gender and Age
by biological characteristics
people on the basis of their socio-
cultural behavior, including speech.
A. Women and men speak difference languages in a community.
B. The language is shared by Women and men, but with some particular linguistic features.
(1) In Montana, Indian tribe.
bread men [kja'tsa] vs. women [dIa'tsa]
(2) In Bengali
men initial [f] vs. women－initial [l]
B. Word-shape－Men and women use different
e.g. Yana men ba-na vs. women ba‘deer’
yaa-na vs. yaa ‘person’
C. Vocabulary－Men and women use different
e.g. Japanese men kuu vs. women taberu‘eat’
D. Pronoun－Some languages signal the gender of the speaker in the pronoun system.
men ore vs. women atashi‘I’
※ Conclusion－Gender-exclusive speech form reflect social status or power differences and gender-exclusive social roles.
e.g. English -ing [0H] vs. –in' [0n]
French [l] deletion
－Women tend to use more standard forms than men do, while men use more of the vernacular forms than women do.
－In every social status men use more vernacular forms than women.
Percentage [in] pronunciation
Social groups or classes
Explanations of women's linguistic behavior I
A. The social status explanation
－Women are more status-conscious than men. The way women speak signals their social class background or social statues in the community.
B. Woman's role as guardian of society's values
－Society tends to expect better behavior form women than men. Women are designated the role of modeling correct behavior in the community.
C. Subordinate groups must be polite
－People who subordinate must be polite. Women, as a subordinate group, must avoid offending men. So women speak carefully and politely.
D. Vernacular forms express machismo
－Men prefer vernacular forms because
they carry macho connotation of
masculinity and toughness.
E. Some alternative explanations
It’s possible for a woman to be better educated than the man she marries, or even to have a more prestigious job than him. When women are classified by their husband’s social group, miscategorisation is one plausible explanation of their speech behavior.
1. Women tend to be more cooperative conversationalists than men.
2. Men tend to be less responsive to the speech of others.
3. Many of the interviewers who collect the social dialect data discussed in the previous sections were male.
4. The interview context was different from women and men.
Age-graded features of speech I
A. The pitch of the voices
1. The pitch of women’s and men’s voice differences develop at puberty.
2. Exceptions: some women’s natural speaking pitch is deeper than that of some men.
Age-graded features of speech II
B. Swear word vocabulary
1. Generally speaking, teenagers use swear words more often.
2. Adult men restrict swearing largely to all-male settings.
3. Females reduce swearing in all settings as they move into adulthood.
Slang is the linguistic prerogative of young people.
A. Child hood & adolescence
B. Middle age
C. Old age
A. Adolescents - high frequencies of vernacular forms.
B. Gang members – vernacular forms act as solidarity markers.
It would be possible to interpret the pattern of language use as evidence of linguistic change in progress.
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