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Journal ArticleDOI

The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change

01 Jul 1990-Language Variation and Change (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 2, Iss: 02, pp 205-254
TL;DR: The authors found that women lead men in rejecting linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group, and that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases.
Abstract: Two general principles of sexual differentiation emerge from previous sociolinguistic studies: that men use a higher frequency of nonstandard forms than women in stable situations, and that women are generally the innovators in linguistic change. It is not clear whether these two tendencies can be unified, or how differences between the sexes can account for the observed patterns of linguistic change. The extensive interaction between sex and other social factors raises the issue as to whether the curvilinear social class pattern associated with linguistic change is the product of a rejection of female-dominated changes by lower-class males. Multivariate analysis of data from the Philadelphia Project on Linguistic Change and Variation indicates that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases. It is proposed that sexual differentiation of language is generated by two distinct processes: (1) for all social classes, the asymmetric context of language learning leads to an initial acceleration of female-dominated changes and retardation of male-dominated changes; (2) women lead men in the rejection of linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group.

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For the past 20 years or so, linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, and feminist thinkers have explored many aspects of this question, including sexist, heterosexist, and racist language; interruptions; graffiti and street remarks; names and forms of address; politeness; tag questions; directives; motherese; children's talk during play; schoolroom discourse; bilingualism and language contact; metaphors; shifts in word meanings; the language of science, religion, and war; silence and volubility; intonation; emotional expressiveness
Abstract: How do gender and language interact? For the past 20 years or so, linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, and feminist thinkers have explored many aspects of this question. There are now dozens of books and hundreds of course offerings on gender and language (14, 20, 41, 60, 67, 92, 98, 99), specialized articles are found in many journals and collections (15, 21, 59, 78, 87, 90, 109, 110, 115), and review articles continue to appear (8, 32, 47, 74, 76, 89). Topics treated include sexist, heterosexist, and racist language; interruptions; graffiti and street remarks; names and forms of address; politeness; tag questions; directives; motherese; children's talk during play; schoolroom discourse; bilingualism and language contact; metaphors; shifts in word meanings; the language of science, religion, and war; silence and volubility; intonation; emotional expressiveness; religious and political rhetoric; sociolinguistic variation; and language change. This list is far from comprehensive but its scatter suggests an absence of theoretical coherence in language and gender studies. Partial integration of the range of linguistic phenomena that seem sensitive to gender is sometimes attempted by trying to explain them all in terms of a

1,295 citations


Cites background from "The intersection of sex and social ..."

  • ...Some such differences may result from different kinds of contact outside the home community-contacts that might significantly affect exposure to standard dialects or to vernacular varieties not heard at home (9, 62)....

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  • ...which women have made greater use of historically innovative variants than men, these innovative variants have also been interpreted as prestige markers, maintaining the characterization of women as prestige oriented (62, 113)....

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  • ...Variables that women use more than men throughout different strata of a community signal female identity in that community (49), and men who rarely use those variables thereby signal their male identity (45, 62)....

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Book
01 Jan 2003
TL;DR: The authors analyse the way that certain practices which are considered to be polite or impolite are, within particular communities of practice, stereotypically gendered, and then move on to a discussion of the theoretical work on gender and politeness which seems to replicate stereotypical views of women's politeness, rather than describing women's actual linguistic performance or interpretative frameworks.
Abstract: Introduction Given the model of gender described in the last chapter, and given the model of linguistic politeness as described in chapters 2 and 3, it is difficult, if not impossible, simply to approach the relation between gender and politeness as a question of an investigation of the production, by individual men or women of a number of linguistic features which are assumed to be unequivocally polite or impolite. What I should like to do instead is to consider the complexity of the relationship between gender and politeness, so that the common-sense nature of gender and politeness and their relation to each other is troubled. Here, I aim to analyse the way that certain practices which are considered to be polite or impolite are, within particular communities of practice, stereotypically gendered. As I discussed in chapter 4, these stereotypes do not actually exist as such, but are hypothesised by particular speakers and hearers within communities of practices, on the basis of their representation by others, and are then negotiated with. It is this connection between gendering of practices and assessments of politeness and impoliteness which is of interest. These stereotypes of behaviour which are considered to be appropriate within particular contexts feed back into individual participants' assessments of what is appropriate in terms of their own behaviour. First, in this chapter, I analyse stereotypes of gender and politeness, and then move on to a discussion of the theoretical work on gender and politeness which I argue seems to replicate stereotypical views of women's politeness, rather than describing women's or men's actual linguistic performance or interpretative frameworks.

706 citations

Book
09 Aug 2007
TL;DR: Coupland as discussed by the authors developed a coherent theoretical approach to style in sociolinguistics, illustrated with copious examples, and explained how speakers project different social identities and create different social relationships through their style choices, and how speech style and social context inter-relate.
Abstract: Style refers to ways of speaking - how speakers use the resource of language variation to make meaning in social encounters. This 2007 book develops a coherent theoretical approach to style in sociolinguistics, illustrated with copious examples. It explains how speakers project different social identities and create different social relationships through their style choices, and how speech-style and social context inter-relate. Style therefore refers to the wide range of strategic actions and performances that speakers engage in, to construct themselves and their social lives. Coupland draws on and integrates a wide variety of contemporary sociolinguistic research as well as his own extensive research in this field. The emphasis is on how social meanings are made locally, in specific relationships, genres, groups and cultures, and on studying language variation as part of the analysis of spoken discourse.

695 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that automated text categorization techniques can exploit combinations of simple lexical and syntactic features to infer the gender of the author of an unseen formal written document with approximately 80 per cent accuracy.
Abstract: The problem of automatically determining the gender of a document's author would appear to be a more subtle problem than those of categorization by topic or authorship attribution. Nevertheless, it is shown that automated text categorization techniques can exploit combinations of simple lexical and syntactic features to infer the gender of the author of an unseen formal written document with approximately 80 per cent accuracy. The same techniques can be used to determine if a document is fiction or non-fiction with approximately 98 per cent accuracy.

667 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the Community of Practice (COP) is used to analyze the linguistic practices associated with an unexamined social identity, the nerd, and to illustrate how members of a local community of female nerds at a US high school negotiate gender and other aspects of their identities through practice.
Abstract: The introduction of practice theory into sociolinguistics is an important recent development in the field. The community of practice provides a useful alternative to the speech-community model, which has limitations for language and gender researchers in particular. As an ethnographic, activitybased approach, the community of practice is of special value to researchers in language and gender because of its compatibility with current theories of identity. An extension of the community of practice allows identities to be explained as the result of positive and negative identity practices rather than as fixed social categories, as in the speech-community model. The framework is used here to analyze the linguistic practices associated with an unexamined social identity, the nerd, and to illustrate how members of a local community of female nerds at a US high school negotiate gender and other aspects of their identities through practice. (Community of practice, gender, discourse analysis, identity, social construction, social practice, speech community, adolescents, nerds)*

663 citations

References
More filters
Book
01 Jan 1966
TL;DR: This article studied the social stratification of English in New York City department stores and the isolation of contextual style in the context of the lower east side of Manhattan, and the structure of the New York city vowel system.
Abstract: Part I. Problems and Methods of Analysis: 1. The study of language in its social context 2. First approach to the structure of New York City English 3. The social stratification of English in New York City department stores 4. The isolation of contextual style 5. The linguistic interview 6. The survey of the lower east side Part II. Social Differentiation: 7. Class differentiation of the variables 8. Further analysis of the variables 9. Distribution of the variables in apparent time 10. Other linguistic variables Part III. Social Evaluation: 11. Subjective evaluation of the variables 12. Self-evaluation and linguistic security 13. General attitudes towards the speech of New York City Part IV. Synthesis: 14. The structure of the New York City vowel system.

2,837 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 1963-WORD
TL;DR: The authors discuss dialect mixture, obsolescence and replacement, and show a very keen concern with the social mechanism of linguistic change, and include pejorativeracial terms in their discussion of dialect mixture.
Abstract: graphyand settlementhistory of Texas.His inclusionof pejorativeracial terms is a very valuable contribution. His discussion of dialect mixture, obsolescenceand replacement, shows a very keen concern with the social mechanism of linguistic change. The many students of American English who will use these materials must feel a very real senseof obligation towards the author for these advances,as well as for his successin ■tting this very large piece of the American puzzle into place.

1,394 citations


"The intersection of sex and social ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...On Martha's Vineyard, the centralization of (ay) and (aw) was led by men (Labov, 1963)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that women use linguistic forms associated with the prestige standard more frequently than men than men and that working-class speech has favourable connotations for male speakers, but these attitudes to non-standard speech are not normally expressed, however, and emerge only in inaccurate self-evaluation test responses.
Abstract: Women use linguistic forms associated with the prestige standard more frequently than men. One reason for this is that working-class speech has favourable connotations for male speakers. Favourable attitudes to non-standard speech are not normally expressed, however, and emerge only in inaccurate self-evaluation test responses. Patterns of sex differentiation deviating from the norm indicate that a linguistic change is taking place: standard forms are introduced by middle-class women, non-standard forms by working-class men. (Sociolinguistic variation; linguistic change; women's and men's speech; contextual styles; social class; British English.)

1,100 citations


"The intersection of sex and social ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...As noted, the rapid shift of women away from their vernacular forms when the context of speech becomes more formal is associated with other forms of linguistic behavior, such as a comparatively high level of "linguistic insecurity" (Labov, 1966; Owens, Thompson, & Baker, 1984; Trudgill, 1972)....

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Book
01 Jan 1974
TL;DR: In this paper, the co-variation of phonological and sociological variables was investigated and a record was first taken of each occurrence of all the variables in the four contextual styles for each informant, and the mean index score for each social group calculated.
Abstract: One of the chief aims of this work is to investigate the co-variation of phonological and sociological variables. In order to measure this type of correlation, a record was first taken of each occurrence of all the variables in the four contextual styles for each informant. Index scores for each informant in each style could then be developed, and, subsequently, the mean index score for each social group calculated. [The following abbreviations are used in this chapter in relation to the social and stylistic stratification of the variable (ng): LWC — lower working-class; MWC — middle working-class; UWC — upper working-class; LMC — lower middle-class; MMC — middle middle-class; WLS — word lists; RPS — reading passages; FS — formal style; CS — casual style — Eds.] By means of these scores we are able: (i) to investigate the nature of the correlation between realisations of phonological variables and social class, social context, and sex; (ii) to discover which variables are subject to social class differentiation and which to stylistic variation; and (iii) to find out which variables are most important in signalling the social context of some linguistic interaction, or the social class of a speaker.

1,061 citations


"The intersection of sex and social ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...100 - 80 - 6 0 - 40 - 20 Style Casual Shifts of style in spontaneous speech by sex and class for (ing) in Norwich (adapted from Trudgill, 1974b)....

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  • ...In England, the most detailed report we have on a new sound change in progress is from TrudgilPs work in Norwich, in the backing of (el) in belt, help, and so forth (Trudgill, 1974b)....

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  • ...In Norwich, Trudgill found that the unrounding of (o) was a male-dominated change....

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  • ...Male speakers are found to use the colloquial form [in] more than females in New England (Fischer, 1958), New York City (Labov, 1966), Detroit (Wolfram, 1969), Philadelphia (Cofer, 1972), Ottawa (Woods, 1979), Norwich (Trudgill, 1974b) and 15 other cities in the British Isles (Houston, 1985), Australia (Bradley & Bradley, 1979; Shopen & Wald, 1982), and many other English-speaking regions....

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  • ...Labov (1973)-on the basis of evidence from New York City (Labov, 1966), Norwich (Trudgill, 1974b), and Panama City (Cedergren, 1973)-pointed out that, in addition, no lower-class or lower working-class group had been found to initiate change, and argued that the change from below was associated…...

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