Language and Gender
- Bonvillain, N. (2001) Gender and Language. Chapter 10 of
Women and Men: Cultural Constructs of Gender. Upper Saddle
River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.   In course packet.
Monday 16 Cctober.
Presented by Eddie.
- Zubin, D. & Köpcke, K.-M. (1986). Gender and folk taxonomy: The indexical relation between grammatical and lexical categorization. In Craig, C. (Ed). Noun Classes and Categorization. Proceedings of a symposium on categorization and noun classification, Eugene, Oregon, October 1983. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1986.   In course packet.
Wednesday 18 Cctober.
- Inoue, M. (2004) What Does Language Remember? Indexical Inversion
and the Naturalized History of Japanese Women. Journal of Linguistic
Anthropology, 14, (1), 39-56.   Available
Please also read
this for background material.
Friday 20 Cctober.
Presented by Alex.
- Hall, K. (1995) Lip Service on the Fantasy Lines. In K. Hall and
M. Bucholtz, eds., Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially
Constructed Self. New York: Routledge, 183-216. (Reprinted 1998
in D. Cameron, ed., The Feminist Critique of Language, 2nd Edition.
New York: Routledge, 321-342.
Available here    Monday 23 Cctober.
Presented by Julie.
Dr. Ellen Contini-Morava, Anthropology Department, University of Virginia
Assessment #2 Questions (due Friday 10 November)
- List some of the characteristics of "women's speech" in Western
cultures like ours, as described by Nancy Bonvillain.
- According to the experimental research cited by Bonvillain, are
so-called "neutral" words like "men" (as in "all men are created equal") and
"his" (as in "Each student should take his book to class") truly neutral?
- According to Zubin & Köpcke, what is the most consistent
meaningful distinction made by grammatical gender in German -- is it masculine vs. feminine, or
something else? Give one example where the masculine/feminine
distinction is used consistently. Is the generalization about
the use of neuter gender 100% true, or are there exceptions
(where neuter, masculine, and feminine are all used for similar
- What does Miyako Inouye mean by "indexical inversion"? What is the
irony in the "naturalized history" that Japanese men have invented to
account for women's speech habits?
- How do the phone-sex workers interviewed by Kira Hall challenge the
characterization (by Robin Lakoff and others) of women's speech as
powerless? Do you buy this story, or are things perhaps more complicated?
- What was the visually obvious way that the audience was able to
gender of the speakers in the dialogs presented by Ellen Contini-Morava?
Were there any other cues?
Suggestions for Further Research
- Linguist Deborah Tannen has written extensively on language and gender, in both
scholarly and popular works. Read and discuss some of her writings, focusing on how they relate
to the issues we have explored in class. Is it possible for a scholar to
present her research to a popular audience without compromising or
oversimplifying the important ideas?
- Investigate the use of grammatical gender in a language
with which you are familiar -- one that you speak or have studied.
- Investigate and report on the controversy surrounding the "sexist" use of English man (meaning "person") and the masculine pronoun (in situations where
no gender is implied). You may find this
article to be a good starting point.