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Some researchers have argued that men and women have distinctive styles of conversation - How far do you agree with these claims?

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  • Essay length: 881 words
  • Submitted: 07/01/2004
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AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks

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Language and Gender

Essay Question: Some researchers have argued that men and women have distinctive styles of conversation. How far do you agree with these claims?

Many researchers have claimed that there are distinctive gender specific language features in conversation. A major supporter of this belief was Robin Lakoff, who devised what has since come to be called The Deficit Model, when comparing the two sexes. Her thesis stated there were many differences in conversational style one of which was the use of special lexicon by females. Lakoff believed that women, used subject specific language such as colour terms more frequently than men in everyday conversation. She said that they used empty adjectives such as cute and tag questions more regularly. Other language features females use more frequently according to Lakoff are intensifiers instead of absolute superlatives, hedges such as you know, superpolite forms, hypercorrection and indirect request forms e.g. Would you mind closing the door? According to her these differences show that women are disadvantaged when compared to males, due to their early sex role socialisation. Lakoff concluded that feminine linguistic features showed unassertiveness and lack of confidence.

For all of Lakoff's claims

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