4. REBECCA BURNS-HOFFMAN, University of Miami
English 300, Language and Gender
Office: MB 319C
Hours: Wed. 2-4
The goals of this course are to introduce students to a wide
range of linguistic analyses of language used by and used
about women and men and to examine models of
explanation for gender differences. Furthermore, students
will be guided through the independent research process of
data collection (recording and transcribing language in use)
and linguistic analysis in the writing of their term papers.
Format and Evaluation
The format of the course for the first eight weeks is assigned
readings, lectures, and discussion with four short exams over
this material. The remaining four weeks will be devoted to
"workshop" sessions in which students will analyze their
transcripts, discuss their findings, and prepare their final
written reports. The four exams are weighted once; the final
project is weighted twice. The grading scale used is
93-100=A, 85-92=B, 77-84=C, 69-76=D.
The linguistic aspects of gender differences explored in this
course are relevant for students of anthropology, sociology,
psychology, education, English, communications, and
journalism. No courses are prerequisite.
Graddol and Swann. 1989. Gender Voices. Blackwell
Coulthard. 1977. An Introduction to Discourse Analysis.
Longman (195 pp).
Cooper. 1984. "The avoidance of androcentricgenerics."
International Journal of the Sociology of Language,
Vol. 50, pp. 5-20.
Mueller and Hassan. 1991. "Gender marking in Spanish:
linguistic versus sociological determinants of feminine
form in words for humans." Conference on Pragmatics
and Language Learning, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana.
Philips and Reynolds. 1987. "Variable syntax and discourse
structure in women's and men's speech." In volume
edited by Philips, Steele, and Tanz, pp. 71-94.
Scherzer. 1987. "A diversity of voices: men's and women's
speech in ethnographic perspective." In volume edited
by Philips, Steele, and Tanz, pp. 95-120.
Books on Reserve:
Baron. 1986. Grammar and Gender.
Cameron. 1985. Feminism and Linguistic Theory
Cameron. 1990. The Feminist Critique of Language: A Reader.
Coates and Cameron, eds. 1988. Women in Their Speech
Communities: New Perspectives on Language and Sex.
Coates. 1986. Women, Men, and Language: A Sociolinguistic
Account of Sex Differences in Language.
Graddol and Swann. 1989. Gender Voices.
Key. 1975. Male/Female Language. (includes extensive
Kramarae. 1981. Women and Men Speaking: Frameworks for
McConnell-Ginet, Borker, Furman, ed.s. 1980. Women and
Language in Literature and Society.
Poynton, Cate. 1989. Language and Gender: Making the
Spender. 1985. Man Made Language.
Thorne, Kramarae, Henley, ed.s. Language, Gender, and
Society. (extensive bibliography)
Weeks 1 & 2
Chapter 1 (pp. 1-11) (All chapters refer to Graddol & Swann)
-Rapid success of the study of language and gender,
theoretical advances, activism
-Nature of language, introduction to psycholinguistics and
Chapter 2 (pp. 12-40)
-physiological aspects of voice: pitch, timbre, volume,
-social perceptions of voice
-voice and personal identity
Exam on Friday, Jan 29
Weeks 3 and 4
Chapter 3 (pp. 41-68)
-early anthropological studies of gender based grammars
-men and women's language in social stratification
-critiques of the sociolinguistic paradigm; alternative
accounts of differences
Paper by Philips and Reynolds
-language in the courtroom
-interaction between morphology and discourse
Paper by Scherzer
-ethnographic methodology, Cuna Indians
-non-universality of dominance model of explanation for
gender differences in language use
Exam on Friday, Feb 12
Chapter 4 (pp.69-94)
-conversation analysis: speaking vs. silence, interruptions,
supporting roles, directives, the language of uncertainty,
topic maintenance/topic shift
Chapter 5 (pp. 95-134)
-documenting sexism in language
-naming practices, titles, marked/unmarked forms,
"generic he," lexical gaps, historical processes of
pejoration/amelioration of gender references
Paper by Mueller and Hassan
-grammatical gender, occupational terms
-determinants of marking by children and adults in
Exam on Friday, Feb 26
Chapter 7 (pp. 174-195)
-language intervention and change
-case studies of intervention and change
-Guidelines for Nonsexist Language Usage
Paper by Cooper
-measuring change in written usage
Chapter 6 (pp. 135-173)
-how ways of speaking acquire social meaning
-roles of individuals, institutions, processes of
-models of explanation for gender differences:
structure and agency model
linguistic determinism model (Whorfian hypothesis)
discourse model of social reality
Exam on Friday, March 12
Weeks 9-15 Research Project
-Record speech sample of language in use: permission,
numbers of participants, gender of and relationship
between participants, settings, language,
-Transcribe five minutes of the data: transcription
conventions for turn-taking, intonation, phonetic notation,
-Analyze the transcript: compare the volubility of male
and female participants, describe the turn-taking
conventions, topic control and topic maintenance,
interruptions, lexical choices, morphological and syntactic
devices of participants, and describe any contrasting
phonetic and phonological features of participants
relevant to gender differences.
-Summarize each analysis (in writing). With feedback
and suggestions from the instructor and the class, select
one analysis to be more fully expanded for the final
Final Exam Friday, May 7 8-10:30 AM Attendance
Final papers will be presented during the time scheduled
for the final exam. A compilation of all satisfactory papers
from this course will be bound (with each student's
permission) for the Women's Studies reading room.
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