Language and gender APLNG 491 Elise & Jingjing & Sherry
Size of the word: the strength of the correlation with gender Color: relative frequency of usage Words and phrases are in the center Topics: represented as the 15 most prevalent words, surround.
Language and gender Sex: biological differences, like chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs Gender: ‘the social condition of being a man/woman’; masculine/feminine characteristics
Language and gender Do you think there are gender differences in L1/L2 Language Use ?
Prevailing arguments Men favor more competitive speech styles and genres. Men referred more to object properties and impersonal topics (things and facts).
Women are innately endowed with superior verbal abilities and a greater predisposition towards verbal communication. Prevailing arguments Women used more words related to psychological and social processes(feelings and relationship) Women are more cooperative, empathetic, and nurturant
Prevailing arguments Lakoff (1975) suggested that women speak a ‘powerless language’- uncertain, weak, excessively polite-and rely on hedges, tag questions, emphatic stress, and hypercorrect grammar. This language is forced on them as the price of social approval for being appropriately feminine.
Our argument.. • Gender is not a set of traits, a variable or a role, but is a social, historical and cultural product, constructed relations of power, produced and reproduced in interaction between and among men and women. • Masculinities and femininities, as well as beliefs and ideas about relations between the sexes, may vary across cultures as well as over time within a culture.
Examine language and gender in a new light • Power and inequality • Gendered agency, motivation, and investment • Socialization patterns
Power and Inequality ---Gendered access to linguistic resources Gender as a system of social relations and practices structures differential opportunities for access to linguistic resources.
Power and Inequality ---Gendered access to linguistic resources Example 1 Goldstein’s (1995) Culture context: Portuguese women, lack of family responsibilities, inappropriate in the same classroom with male strangers Certain culture prevents women from accessing to second language resources
Power and Inequality ---Gendered access to linguistic resources Example 2 Harvey (1994) Culture context: Indigenous women’s access to Spanish, South America Ideal masculinity- high value of being bilingual Ideal femininity- firmly inside community Male Mediator Inside world Female transmitters of home languages Outside world finance and knowledge
Power and Inequality ---Gendered access to linguistic resources Example 3 Pichette (2000) Context: a number of male and female Westerners living in Japan comparing contexts in which they use the language and their linguistic achievements. Western men have many more chances to participate in formal interaction, as a result, acquire the language in a wider range of context than Western women.
Pedagogical Implication • Understand students’ cultural constraints • Offer varied resources • Make wise pedagogical decision: grouping • Do not treat students as undifferentiated group, value individual differences
Gendered agency, motivation & investment • Influence the decision-making process • Influence the outcomes of second language learning and language shift
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Example 1 Piller & Takahashi’s study (2006) Self-interested motives of women A group of Japanese women who had invested significant resources in acquiring English because of their desire to contract relationships with Anglophone men.
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Anglo-saxon men More glamorous looking less traditional in their attitudes to women Japan men Higher level of job-security lower rates of divorce
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Example 2 Herbert (1992) Self-interested motives of men Thonga people in South Africa Men lead the language and culture shift to Zulu.
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Men Women Higher prestige More power
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Example 3 Aikio (1992) Women from Sami community, Finland World War II refuse to learn shift to Finnish Finnish
Gendered agency, motivation & investment Finnish women Economically disadvantaged Dependent on their husbands Forced to stay in one spot Sami women Higher social & economic status Freedom to travel
Pedagogical implication • Make ongoing assessment • Do ongoing adjustment • Encourage learners’ investment • Provide varied opportunities and resources accordingly
Socialization patterns • Gendered peer networks influence the patterns of language use • Socialization agents influence second language learning outcomes (textbook, social media)
Socialization patterns Example 1 Marjorie Harness Goodwin (2006) Interactions among a group of pre-adolescent girls in Los Angeles Girl's speech styles contest the generalization that girls acquire a more supportive, cooperative style.
Socialization patterns • Internal hierarchy • Issue of orders:leaders, followers • Tag-along girl, subjected to bullying • Argue about rules • Engage in boasting: skills, possession, wealth of families
Socialization patterns Example 2 Woodlard (1997) case study Gendered friendship circles in high school in Barcelona area Gendered friendship practices can affect the use of bilingual repertoire.
Boys: ethnically mixed and linguistically diverse (mixed Catalan and Castilian boys) Girls: ethnic and linguistic homogeneous group
Socialization patterns Example 3 McGregor, 1998; Siegal & Okamoto, 1996 EFL textbooks revealed stereotyped male and female in texts and illustrations • Chairman v.s Chair leader • man v.s human • man-made v.s manufactured • policeman/policewomen v.s police officer • Pronoun he v.s male and female
Why avoid sexism in language? • Some people feel insulted by sexist language • Sexist language creates an image of a society where women have lower social and economic status than men. • Using nonsexist language may change the way that users of English think about gender roles
Pedagogical implication • Understand individual differences and socialization background might affect learning progress • Do not treat students as undifferentiated group • Provide varied opportunities and resources accordingly • Raise awareness of gender issues • Avoid language use conflicts
Teaching gender-sensitive language Pronouns They If students want to learn more about gender inequality, they should take Intro to Women’s Studies. She or he (she/he) Each student who majors in Women’s Studies major must take a course in Feminist Theory. She or he may also get course credit for completing an internship at a local organization that benefits women. Reference: University of North Carolina, writing centerhttp://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/gender-sensitive-language/
Gender-sensitive languages Alternate genders and pronouns Respond as a reader, explaining what and how you were/are thinking as you read her texts so that she can discover where a reader might struggle with her writing.Ask him to outline the draft to reveal the organization of the paper.Ask her to describe her purpose and audience and show how she has taken them into account in her writing. Eliminate the pronoun altogether Allan Johnson is a contemporary feminist theorist. This writer and professor gave a speech at UNC in the fall of 2007. Reference: University of North Carolina, writing centerhttp://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/gender-sensitive-language/
space time Culture context power socialization agents resources social interactions motivation agency investment