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How Gender Shapes the World$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723752.001.0001

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When women and men speak differently

When women and men speak differently

(p.136) 9 When women and men speak differently
How Gender Shapes the World

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on conventionalized registers or genderlects, also known as ‘women’s speech’ and ‘men’s speech’ (where gender indexicals systematically span phonological, morphological, and lexical domains) in numerous languages in North America, Siberia, and a few in Amazonia. The choice of code is determined by a combination of Natural Gender and Social Gender. I then turn to typical features of female and male discourse and communication practices. In European languages, these are believed to include hedges, intensifiers, diminutives, and general ‘tentative’ speech. Features of female talk in non-European languages include use of specific interjections, and repetition. Gay, lesbian, and transgender people deploy linguistic features to construe their male or female identity, and create an image of a female or a male. Resources of Linguistic Gender can also be deployed: a transgender person can change Linguistic Gender reference when talking of themself.

Keywords:   Genderlect, Linguistic Gender, Social Gender, gender-exclusive languages, language obsolescence, Japanese, Thai, Amazonian languages, gay, lesbians, transgender

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