11.  SHIRLEY BRICE HEATH, Stanford University
       BONNIE MCELHINNY, Stanford University 

Bonnie McElhinny
March 1993

          In my first year of graduate school (1987-1988), 
Penny Brown was visiting Stanford and taught a course on 
language and gender--for undergraduates.  I took that 
course then, but remained uncertain about whether one 
could be taken seriously as a linguist while undertaking 
studies of language of gender.  After a leave of absence 
devoted to earning a master's degree in a field where 
feminist approaches are a central theoretical paradigm 
(English literature) I returned to linguistics heartened, 
believing that the relative lack of attention to gender as a 
social category presented an opportunity for doing original 
work rather than a professional deadend.  Upon returning to 
Stanford, I decided to write a dissertation devoted to some 
aspect of the linguisic construction of gender, and I 
submitted a proposal to the linguistics department faculty 
for a course I wanted to teach to undergraduates on 
language and gender.  Shirley Brice Heath expressed interest 
in co-teaching the course, and we co-designed the course 
whose syllabus is attached.  Language and Gender has since 
become a regular offering in the Stanford linguistics 
          In addition to surveying the history of the 
development of scholarship on language and gender, and 
considering contemporary approaches to its study in 
anthropology an linguistics, an important part of the course 
Shirley and I designed was the attached set of fieldwork 
exercises that the students themselves conducted.  Using 
tapes and transcripts they made of conversations with peers, 
the students retested previous authors' claims about how 
men and women use interruptions, hedges, tag questions, 
profanity and vernacular phonological features.   These 
exercises were more than the usual problem sets designed to 
allow students to replicate experts' findings, since asking 
students to consider for themselves the complexity of how 
language is used in social interaction turned out to be a way 
to empower them to question the methodological and 
theoretical assumptions made by earlier scholars in studies 
of language and gender.  In many cases the students' 
conclusions didn't agree with the linguists' previous 
findings--not only because the students were studying a 
different group, but because the linguists assigned a single 
meaning to a form which students discovered on 
investigation of their own tapes was capable of meaning 
many things.  For instance, among friends simultaneous talk 
and interruptions more often marked intimacy and 
solidarity than the domination of another that it has often 
been assumed to represent by sociolinguists.
          Students would find too that gender wasn't always the 
only, or most important, social characteristic that explained 
the patterns of interactions they had taped--though many 
sociolinguistic studies bent on examining gender differences 
do ignore other contextual, social and psychological factors 
influencing language use.  Often, students would say, "But in 
MY data the most important difference isn't between men 
and women, but between this senior and this freshman, or 
between these two women with different personalities, or 
between the femininst and the non-feminist."  Thus the 
participant structure of our classroom was changed from the 
tradition one of instructors-to-students to one where 
students shared data with one another, as developing 
experts on a given topic. Having their own data also 
empowered students to ask questions of the articles they 
were reading, and of us.  One student who approached me at 
the end of the semester said that she would never gain read 
anything--academic article or otherwise--and assume that 
she could simply accept what she was reading there. 
Helping students towards this sort of critical reading, and to 
find ways to develop their own opinions, seems to me one of 
the most important goals in teaching undergraduate and 
graduate students.
          Much feminist research, and many courses taught by 
feminists (including courses on language and gender), focus 
on the ways that women's behavior is devalued.  Although 
these studies and these courses, by their very nature, are a 
protest against such devaluation, they fail to document the 
ways by which the women described offer their own,positive 
interpretations of their own actions, the ways they contest 
hegemonic interpretations, and the ways that negative 
interpretations change, and so they seem to suggest that 
feminist protest is largely located in the academy.  For many 
students, examining the transcripts of their peers made it 
impossible not to ask questions about signs of resistance and 
multiple interpretations and the resulting changes in their 
own, and other, speech communities.  The students' own 
work, then, served as a jumping-off point for a critique not 
only of prevailing stereotypes of women's speech in some of 
the cultures we studied, but of some of those present in the 
academic literature as well.  I take students' active 
participation and empowerment in a classroom to be one 
distinctive feature of a feminist pedagogy.  Marcia Westkott 
notes that often "Women's devaluation and the consequences 
of this devaluation are reinforced by a social science which 
records these conditions while systematically ignoring 
alternative possibilities."  A feminist social science, and a 
feminist pedagogy too, should not be just a doleful catalogue 
of facts about oppression and discrimination, but should also 
serve as an opposition to such facts by identifying 
alternative interpretations, by recognizing resisting groups 
and individuals, and by denaturalizing existing ideologies 
about gender. 

                      LANGUAGE AND GENDER
         Anthropology 171/Linguistics 154--Winter 1991
                      Stanford University

Instructors:  Shirley Brice Heath and Bonnie McElhinny

Coates, Jennifer.  1986.  Women, Men and Language
Philips, Susan, Susan Steele and Christine Tanz (eds.).  1987. 
          Language, Gender and Sex in Comparative Perspective
          (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press). (REFERRED 
          TO BELOW AS PST).

>From time to time, readings on reserve in the library will 
also be assigned.  You will also be asked to read parts of 
Tannen 1990 (You Just Don't Understand:  Women and Men 
in Conversation).  Some copies of this New York Times 
discounted bestseller are available in the bookstore.

(1)      60%--SIX PROBLEM SETS due on dates indicated in the 
problem set packet.  No papers will be accepted beyond the 
week in which sets are due.
(2)      40%--Choice between a FINAL EXAMINATION and a 
10-15 page FINAL PAPER using course readings on a topic of 
student choice.
(3)      10%--Each Tuesday, beginning Jan. 15, a one-page 
summary of the readings of the week.  These will not be 
graded, but they will be checked off, and occasionally shared 
with other class members to stimulate discussion.  Note that 
these are in effect bonus points.


JANUARY:  Overcoming the stereotypes of language; deciding 
how to study language and gender; reconsidering the norms 
and expectations of mainstream culture; the power of the 
media; sorting facts from fictions.

Jan 8 and 10
Coates, Part 1:  "Language and Sex", "The Historical 
          Background:  Folklinguistics and the Early 
          Grammarians", "The Historical Background: 
          Anthropologists and Dialectologists". 
Spacks, Patricia Meyer. 1985.  "Chapter 2:  Its Reputation"
          from Gossip (Chicago:  Univ. of Chicago Press), 
          pp. 24-46. 
Lakoff,  Robin. 1975.  Language and Woman's Place (NY: 
          Harper), pp. 8-19. 
Lakoff, Robin. 1990.  "Chapter 11:  Why Can't a Woman be 
          Less Like a Man?" in Talking Power:  The Politics of
          Language (NY:  Basic Books), pp. 198-214.
Selections from Tannen, Deborah.  1990.  You Just Don't
          Understand:  Women and Men in Conversation (NY: 
          William Morrow Co).  (See especially Chapter 2). 
View Film  "Killing Her Softly."

Jan 15 and 17. 
PST, Introduction.
Holmes, Janet. 1986.  "Functions of you know in women's and 
          men's speech" Language in Society 15:1-22.
Ochs, Elinor. 1979.  "Transcription as Theory" in Elinor Ochs 
          and Bambi Schieffelin (eds.), Developmental 
          Pragmatics (NY:  Academic Press), pp. 43-72.

Jan. 22 and 24. 
Coates, Part 2:  "Quantitative Studies", "Social Networks", "Sex
          Differences in Communicative Competence." 
Eckert, Penelope. 1988.  "Adolescent Social Structure and the 
          Spread of Linguistic Change" Language in Society 

Jan. 29 and 31. 
PST, Chapter 4:  "A diversity of voices:  Men and Women's 
          Speech in Ethnography Perspective" (Joel Sherzer). 
Johnstone, Barbara. 1988. "Gender and Power in Midwestern
          Personal  Storytelling" Paper presented at Discourses 
          of Power conference, Tempe AZ, Oct. 1988.

FEBRUARY:  Gender and ethnicity in the U.S.; contrasting men 
and women in talk across cultures

Feb. 5 and 7. 
Heath, Shirley Brice. 1983.  "Chapter 5:  Oral Traditions" in 
          Ways with Words:  Language, Life and Work in 
          Communities and Classrooms (Cambridge:  Cambridge 
          Univ. Press), pp. 149-189.
Medicine, Bea. 1987.  "The Role of American Indian Women 
          in Cultural Continuity and Transition" in Joyce Penfield 
          (ed.), Women and Language in Transition (Albany: 
          SUNY Press), pp. 159-166.
Zentella, Ana Celia. 1987.   "Language and Female Identity in 
          the Puerto Rican Community" in Joyce Penfield (ed.), 
          Women and Language in Transition (Albany:  SUNY 
          Press), pp. 167-179.
Moonwomon, Birch. 1986.  "Towards a Study of Lesbian 
          Speech" in Proceedings of the First Berkeley Women 
          and Language Conference 1985, pp. 96-107.

Feb. 12 and 14. 
PST, Chapter 1: "The womanly woman:  Manipulation of 
          Stereotypical and Nonstereotypical Features of 
          Japanese  Female Speech" (Janet Shibamoto).
PST, Chapter 2:  "The Impact of Stratification and 
          Socialization on Men's and Women's Speech in 
          Western Samoa" (Elinor Ochs).
PST, Chapter 5:   "Women's Speech in Modern Mexicano" 
          (Jane Hill).

Feb. 19 and 22. 
Thomas,  Beth. 1988.  "Differences of Sex and Sects: 
          Linguistic Variation and Social Networks in a Welsh 
          Mining Village" in Jennifer Coates and Deborah 
          Cameron (eds.), Women in their Speech Communities 
          (London:  Longman), pp. 51-60. 
Brown, Penelope. 1990. "Gender, Politeness and 
          Confrontation in Tenejapa" Discourse Processes 

Feb. 26 and 28. 
Keenan, Elinor. 1974.    "Norm-Makers, Norm-Breakers:  Uses 
          of Speech by Men and Women in a Malagasy 
          Community" in R. Bauman and J. Sherzer (eds.), 
          Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking 
          (Cambridge:  Cambridge Univ. Press), pp. 125-143.
Smith-Hefner, Nancy. 1988.  "Women and Politeness:  The 
          Javanese Example" Language in Society 17:535-554. 
Haeri, Niloofaer. 1987. "Male/female differences in speech: 
          An alternative interpretation" in Variation in 
          Language, NWAV-XV at Stanford.  Proceedings of the 
          Fifteenth Annual Conference on New Ways of 
          Analyzing Variation (Stanford, CA:  Dept. of 
          Linguistics, Stanford Univ.)

MARCH:  Acquisition of gender-differentiated language 
across cultures

March 5 and 8. 
PST,  Chapter 6:  "Preschool boys' and girls' language use in 
          pretend play" (Jacqueline Sachs).
PST, Chapter 7:  "Sex Differences in Parent-Child Interaction" 
          (Jean Berko Gleason).
PST, Chapter 8:  "Children's Arguing" (Marjorie Harness 
          Goodwin and Charles Goodwin).
PST, Chapter 9:  "Do Different Worlds Mean Different Words?: 
          An example from Papua New Guinea" (Bambi 
Goodwin, Majorie Harness. 1980.  "Directive-Response Speech 
          Sequences in Girls' and Boys' Task Activities" in Sally 
          McConnell-Ginet, Ruth Borker and Nelly Furman, eds. 
          Women and Language in Literature and Society (NY: 
          Praeger), pp. 157-173.

March 12 and 14 
Coates, Part 3:  "The Acquisition of Sex-Differentiated 
          Language", "The Role of Sex Differences in Linguistic 
          Change", "The Social Consequences of Linguistic Sex 
Eckert, Penelope. 1989. "The whole woman:  Sex and Gender 
          Differences in Variation" Language Variation and 
          Change 1:245-267.


                        BOOKS ON RESERVE

You may want to consult these books in the course of 
preparing your final paper, if this is the option you choose.

Cameron, Deborah. 1985.  Feminism and Linguistic Theory.
Chesebro, James.  Gayspeak:  Gay Male and Lesbian 
Ginsburg, Faye (ed). 1990.  Uncertain Terms:  Negotiating 
          Gender in American Culture.
Lakoff, Robin.   1975.  Language and Woman's Place.
Ortner, Sherry and Jennifer Whitehead (eds).  Sexual 
McConnell-Ginet, Sally et al (eds.).   1980.  Women and 
          Language in Literature and Society.
Moi, Toril.  1985.  Sexual/Textual Politics:  Feminist Literary 
Morgen, Sandra (ed.).  1989.    Gender and Anthropology.
Penelope, Julia.  1990.  Speaking Freely:  Unlearning the Lies 
          of the Fathers' Tongues.
Rosaldo, Michelle and Louise Lamphere (eds). 1974.  Women, 
          Culture and Society.
Sanday, Peggy.  1990.  Beyond the Second Sex:  New 
          Directions in the Anthropology of Gender.
Smith, Philip.  Language, the Sexes and Society.
Spender, Dale. 1985.  Man-made Language.
Spender, Dale.  1989.  The Writing or the Sex?  or Why you 
          Don't have to read women's writing to know it's no 
Tannen, Deborah.  1990.  You Just Don't Understand:  Women 
          and Men in Conversation
Thorne, Barrie and Nancy Henley (eds.).  1975.  Language 
          and Sex:  Difference and Dominance.
Thorne, Barrie, Cheris Kramarae and Nancy Henley (eds.). 
          1983.  Language, Gender and Society.

              ANTHROPOLOGY 171/LINGUISTICS 154 
Heath/Mcelhinny                              Winter 1991

This is a packet of six field exercises examining the ways 
that language reflects and constructs gender differences. 
You will be asked to complete these exercises throughout the 
quarter and turn them in on the dates listed below.  For the 
assignments due on Jan. 15 and March 5 you must choose 
one of the two exercises included here--you are not required 
to do both.  Each exercise is worth ten points and is the 
equivalent of 10% of your final grade.  NO LATE 

1a.     Extralinguistic Constructions of Gender OR
1b.     Politeness (Lakoff)                                  DUE Jan. 15
2.      Transcription                                        DUE Jan. 29
3.      Quantitative Analysis                                DUE Feb. 5
4.      Narrative                                            DUE Feb. 12
5a.     Interruptions OR
5b.     Hedges                                               DUE Feb. 19
6.      Sexism in Language                                   DUE March 5

(Reminder:  Your final paper is due March 12.  Please budget 
your time accordingly.)

Included with each exercise is a list of further optional 
readings.  These are NOT required reading.  You will be able 
to satisfactorily complete each exercise without referring to 
these articles/books.  We provide them here in case you 
should wish to read further on your own, or in case you 
decide to expand one of your exercises into a final paper.

EXERCISE 1a--Extralinguistic Constructions of Gender (Due 
Jan. 15).


In GENDER ADVERTISEMENTS Erving Goffman compellingly 
demonstrates the ways that differences in power and 
authority between men and women are represented and 
constructed in advertising photographs.  He shows, for 
example, the regularity with which (1) men are portrayed as 
larger, bigger, higher or taller than women, (2) women are 
portrayed as physically prostrating themselves before men, 
(3) women, social subordinates and children are held by or 
around the shoulders in a way that precludes reciprocal 
shoulder-holding, (4) women are portayed as losing control 
of their emotions.  Copies of photographs of several of the 
positions which he examined are attached.  In this exercise 
you'll be attempting to duplicate 
Goffman's study  EITHER by examining contemporary 
advertisements OR by examining body configurations which 
occur in everyday interactions.  NOTE:  You are not required 
to do both of these sections.  Select only one.


Goffman's study was conducted in 1976.  Are the same sorts 
of configurations still regularly used by advertisers in 1990? 
That is, are gender differences still constructed in the same 
ways?  Choosing one of the positions/configurations 
examined by Goffman, examine a selection of popular 
magazines (you should look at 4 different magazines, at 
least), to see if that particular configuration is still found in 
advertising photographs.  If so, cut out the relevant pictures 
and paste them up onto several sheets of paper.  Submit a 1 
or 2 page essay describing the ways in which this 
configuration fits (or perhaps does not precisely fit) 
Goffman's description.  If the configuration you've chosen is 
no longer used in advertising you can either (1) choose 
another configuration, look for it and write about it, as 
above, or (2) write a 1 or 2 page essay explaining why you 
think that configuration is no longer used by advertisers, or 
(3) write a 1 or 2 page essay describing a configuration that 
is currently used that Goffman did not describe and attempt 
to explain why and how this new configuration might have 
become popular/effective. 


Although Goffman wasn't certain about the ways in which 
the configurations he discusses would correspond with poses 
adopted in natural settings, he suggests that the 
"standardization, exaggeration and simplification" that 
characterize commercial posings are also found in more 
natural settings, though there they may be understood as 
"babyishness, mockery and other forms of unseriousness" or 
may be a particular sort of ritualized behavior that is only 
acceptable during "moments of ceremoney, occasions for 
giving sympathy, sudden access or friends" and other special 
occasions.  No one has yet attempted to test these claims on 
the poses that people regularly adopt as they go about their 
day-to-day business.  Select one of the poses which Goffman 
describes, and note down all the people whom you see 
arranged in that configuration in a  given day.  Note down 
the details of each occurrence, including who the participates 
were, where they were, what they were doing, the tone of 
the occasion (serious and academic, serious and romantic, 
playful and friendly, playful and taunting, parodying, etc.) 
and any other details that seem significant to you. If you can 
do so, take a picture.  Write a1 or 2 page essay describing 
the results of your observations and commenting on 
Goffman's predictions.  If you are unable to find any 
instances of the particular configuration you've chosen you 
can either (1) look for another configuration, look for it and 
write about it, as above, or (2) write a 1 or 2 page essay 
explaining why you think the configuration you can't find 
might be used in advertising but not in the natural 
interactions you observed, or (3) write a 1 or 2 page essay 
on a configuration that you regularly observed that went 
unmentioned by Goffman.

Goffman, Erving.  1976.  Gender Advertisements (NY:  Harper
          and Row Publishers).
Kramer, Cheris.  1975.  "Stereotypes of women's speech:  the 
          word from cartoons"  Journal of Popular Culture 

EXERCISE 1B--Politeness  (Due Jan. 15)


In LANGUAGE AND WOMAN'S PLACE Robin Lakoff claims 
that "it is a truism to state that the 'stronger' expletives are 
reserved for men, and the 'weaker' ones for women" 
(1975:10).  Jennifer Coates, on the other hand, in WOMEN, 
MEN AND LANGUAGE writes that Lakoff and other writers 
"claim to describe women's more polite use of language, but 
we should ask whether what they are actually doing is 
attempting to prescribe how women ought to talk. 
Avoidance of swearing and 'coarse' words is held up to 
female speakers as them ideal to be aimed at....It is clear 
that people have thought for a long time that women and 
men differ in relation to the use of swear words and other 
taboo exprssions....there is still very little evidence to 
confirm or refute this belief" (1986:22).  This exercise is 
designed to test Lakoff's claim by gathering some evidence 
for how men and women use expletives.

(1)  The attached worksheet lists 14 expletives.  They've 
been ranked in order from least profane (GOSH) to most 
profane (CUNT) in an unpublished study conducted by Frank 
Anshen at SUNY-Stonybrook.  Note that the expletives fall 
into roughly 3 groups.  The first three (GOSH, DAMN, HELL) 
are all impious uses of religious terms, while CRAP, ASS, 
BULLSHIT, and PISS are all concerned with excrement.  The 
last set (FUCK, SUCK, PRICK, MOTHERFUCKER, CUNT) all refer 
to sex.  Each time you hear one of these 14 words in the next 
week note the sex of the speaker and the sex of the 
audience, and mark the appropriate column on the attached 
worksheet.  If, for instance, you hear a woman on the bus 
say "Damn that was a good game" to the guy beside her, 
you'll mark W to M (woman to man) on the DAMN line.  For 
the purposes of this study, take audience to be those to 
whom the speakers are directly talking, and not merely all 
those who can hear them (you wouldn't count, for instance, 
everyone who overheard the woman on the bus as the 
audience).  Sometimes the audience will be more than one 
person.  If all are women, mark W.  If all are men, mark M. 
If both men and women are in the audience, mark MIX.  If 
possible, also note age, ethnicity and/or class of the speakers 
and audience. 

(2) Tabulate all tokens (each expletive you hear counts as 
one token) according to word (e.g. 11 tokens of DAMN), 
according to gender of speaker (e.g. 5 tokens of DAMN used 
by men, 6 used by women) and according to hearer (4 
tokens of DAMN heard by men, 6 heard by women, 1 heard 
by a mixed audience).

(3)  Can you make any generalizations about whether men or 
women are more likely to use the expletives in the impious 
set?  The scatological set?  The sexual set?

(4)  Does the sex of the audience significantly affect men's or 
women's use of expletives?  Are expletives more or less 
likely to be used when only women are in the audience? 
With a mixed audience?  With an all-male audience?  Which 
set of expletives are usd most often with, respectively, all-
male, all-female and mixed audiences?

(5)  Do you think that use of expletives is a good measure of 
how polite a speaker is?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  In 
what other ways might one measure politeness?

(6)  In what ways did ethnicity, class and age affect use of 

(7)  Turn in your worksheet and a 1-2 page essay which 
contains the answers to questions #2-6.

Brown, Penelope and Stephen Levinson.  1978.  "Universals 
          in Language Use:  Politeness Phenomena" in J. Goody, 
          ed. Questions and Politeness:  Strategies in Social 
          Interaction (NY:  Cambridge University Press).
Brown, Penelope.  1980.  "How and Why are Women More 
          Polite:  Some Evidence from a Mayan Community" in 
          Women and Language in Literature and Society, ed. S. 
          McConnell-Ginet. R. Borker and N. Furman, pp. 111-
Coates, Jennifer.  1986.  Women, Men and Language (pp. 19-
          22, 108-109).
Lakoff, Robin.  1975.  Language and Woman's Place.


Word      M to M    M to W   M to Mix  W to W   W to Mix TOT
















                    EXERCISE 2--Transcription (DUE JAN. 29)

(1) Tape an hour of casual conversation between two friends. 
The conversation may be between two women, two men or 
between a man and a woman.  Because you'll be using the 
transcript resulting from this exercise for comparisons of 
men and women's speech in some of the later exercises (see 
exercises 3, 4, 5a, 5b) you may prefer to tape a man and a 
woman.  If you elect to look at the speech of two women or 
two men you will need to find someone else in the class who 
has taped the speech of two people of the opposite sex with 
whom you can exchange transcripts.  (NOTE:  If you do not 
have access to a tape recorder, please check with the 
instructors about borrowing one.).  Unless you have a very 
high-quality tape recorder, you'll probably want to tape in a 
location without a lot of ambient noise (e.g. a dorm room, or 
a quiet bench on campus, or a car).

(2) Transcribe at least one half-hour of this tape.  As a rule 
of thumb, note that an hour of tape generally requires 7 
hours of transcription time.  Do not 
transcribe the first 10 minutes or so of the tape--this is the 
section in which speakers are likely to be most self-
conscious and most aware of the tape-recorder.  Later 
portions of the tape will probably be a bit more natural.  Use 
pseudonyms for the participants.

(3)  Transcribe as much of what is on the tape as is 
necessary to capture the essence of the conversation that 
you've taped.  You will need to transcribe discourse markers 
and fillers like UM, HMHM, WELL, YEAH, etc.  Transcribe 
laughter.  Note pauses.  Transcribe gasps, sighs, or other 
sharp intakes of breath.  You might even want to include 
notes on the actions the two people were performing as the 
recording was taking place if you were there, to the extent 
that you can remember them.  Attached is a set of 
transcription conventions developed by discourse analysists 
that you may find useful.  Keep in mind also the comments 
by Ochs on the ways that transcription practices are also a 
theory of interaction.  Be prepared to explain why you've 
chosen certain transcription practices for your purposes.

(4)  Hand in one copy of the transcript and a copy of your 
want to listen to your tape and compare it with your 
transcript.  Retain the original transcript and tape for 
yourself--you'll need it for next week's exercise. 

Edelsky, Carole.  1981.  "Who's Got the Floor?"  Language in 
          Society 10(3):383-421.
Jefferson, Gail.  1973.  "A case of precision timing in ordinary 
          conversation:  overlapped tag-positioned address 
          terms in closing sequences" Semiotica 9:47-96.
Ochs, Elinor.  1979.  "Transcription as Theory" in E. Ochs and 
          B. Schieffelin (eds). Developmental Pragmatics (NY: 
          Academic Press), pp. 43-72.
Schiffrin, Deborah.  1987.  Discourse Markers (Cambridge: 
          Cambridge University Press).


A: I            Brackets indicate that the portions
B:    't          of enclosed speech are
                           simultaneous.The left-hand bracket 
                           marks the beginning of the overlap, 
                           the right-hand bracket the end.

A:  I was go-              A hyphen represents a syllable which 
                           was abruptly cut off.

B:  Are you SURE?          Caps (or underlining) indicate heavier 
                           emphasis on the word marked.

A:  I said that=           Equal signs indicate that the next
B:  =No you didn't.        speaker started precisely at the end 
                           of last speaker's utterance.

(.) or (   )               Parentheses indicate a short pause.

(.2)                       Indicates a pause of 2/10 of a second

(xxxx)                     X's mark a stretch of speech which 
                           was difficult to transcribe from tape.

Oh yeah?                   Question mark marks rising intonation

Hhhhhhhhhhhhh              H's represent laughter.

          EXERCISE 3--Quantitative Analysis (Due. Feb. 5)

In this exercise you'll be conducting a simple quantitative 
study that will serve to give you an idea of how studies like 
those described in Coates (Chapter 4) are designed and 
conducted.  Although there are some cases in which gender 
diferences in the use of a certain linguistic item are 
categorical (in the American Indian language Koasati, for 
example, there are male and female forms of some verbs, so 
tht a woman will say LAKAWCIN 'don't lift it' while a man 
will say LAKAWCI.S 'don't lift it'), these are relatively rare. 
In most of the cases in which gender differences have been 
found in the use of certain linguistic forms, men and women 
both use the word (or morpheme or phoneme), or both use 
all possible variants of the word (or morpheme or phoneme) 
but they use them in varying degrees.  The use of the 
variants -ING/IN (in phonetic transcription < in > /  ), as 
in WORKING/WORKIN is one such case that has been studies 
by several linguists, including Fischer 1964 and Trudgill 

(1)  Listen to your tape once more, while following along in 
your transcript.  Make sure that you've correctly transcribed 
each instance of a word which ends in -ING/-IN.  In the 
transcription you first made, you probably heard many 
instances of -IN as -ING.  (Each time conversational analysts 
use a transcript for a new purpose, they comb back through 
it to make sure they've accurately recorded each instance of 
the new phenomenon that they're examining.)

(2)  Go through your transcript underlining each instance of 
a word which ends in -ING/-IN for each individual.

(3)  Count the number of -INGs and -INs you've found for 
EACH individual.

(4)  Enter the totals into a table like the following:

                             -IN                              -ING
Individual 1

Individual 2 

(5)  In one or two pages, describe your results.  Use your 
table in this description.  Is there a difference between your 
two speakers in the use of the two variants?  Do you think 
it's a significant difference?   (Note:  If you were conducting 
a full-scale sociolinguistic study, you'd apply a Chi-square 
test of statistical significance to answer this question.  Here, 
just offer an informed opinion.)  If there does seem to be a 
significant difference between your two speakers, who uses 
the prestige variant -ING more?  Who uses the vernacular 
variant -IN more?  How might you explain the difference? 
In what sorts of situations might you expect the person who 
used more -ING to use less than he or she does here?  In 
what sorts of situations might you expect the person who 
used more -IN to use less than she or he does here?  How do 
your results compare with those of Trudgill (summarized in 
Coates, pp. 64-65)?

Fischer, J. L.  1964.  "Social Influences on the Choice of a 
          Linguistic Variant" in Dell Hymes (ed.)  Language in 
          Culture and Society (NY:  Harper International), pp. 
Trudgill,  Peter. 1972.  The Social Differentiation of English in 
          Norwich (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press), pp. 
          84, 91-5.

                    EXERCISE 4--Narrative (Due Feb. 12)

Several discourse analysts have suggested that stories told 
by men and women differ in theme and structure.  For 
instance, Barbara Johnstone in a description of the 
differences in the plots of stories told by midwestern men 
and women claims that women's stories tend to be about 
community while men's tend to be about contest.  "The men" 
she writes "tell about human contests--physical contests 
such as fights as well as social contests in which  they use 
verbal and/or intellectual skill to defend their honor.  Stories 
about contests with people or animals can take the form of 
tall tales, which are themselves a kind of contrast between a 
teller and his audience.  When a male storyteller is not the 
protagonist in his story, the protagonist is a man; men rarely 
tell stories involving women.  The women's stories, on the 
other hand, revolve around the norms of the community, 
and joint action by groups of people.  The women tell about 
incidents in which they violate social norms and are scared 
or embarrassed as a result; about people helping other 
people out of scrapes; about sightings of apparent ghosts 
which are then explained by others; about meeting their 
mates and acquiring their cats.  The women tell about 
peculiar people, dramatizing their abnormal behavior and 
setting it implicitly in contrast with social norms.  They tell 
stories about themselves, about other women, and about 

Susan Kalcik believes that there is a distinctive way of telling 
stories which characterizes all-women groups, especially 
feminist all-women groups. She cites a cooperative 
interactional styles, with no story  being told before another 
is finished and frequent attempts to solicit the opinions and 
comments of those present as the story is progressing, 
particularly those who have not been actively participating 
up until that point.  In addition, stories are often begun with 
apologies (e.g.for the content of a story or its length) as a 
way of recognizing other's desires and face.  She also 
describes a phenomenon she calls story-chaining, in which 
the telling of a story suggests a story to another member 
that is then told.  She believes story-chaining works as a 
way of showing support by sharing a similar experience 
rather than, say, as an attempt to top the previous narrator's 
story (as Johnson found in midwestern men's stories).

(1)  Consider 2 stories told by a woman and 2 told by a man. 
These stories may be drawn from literature (novels, 
children's books,  etc.) from folktales, from a storytelling 
performance which you attended, or from your transcript. 
The social characteristics of the man and woman should be 
as much alike as possible (in age, ethnicity, class, sexual 
orientation, etc.) and the genres of the stories you choose 
should also be matched (i.e. compare storytelling 
performances, not a storytelling performance and a novel).

(2)  Can you make any generalizations about gender-based 
differences in the themes of the stories?  In addition to 
considering the subjects of the story, consider also which 
sorts of details are used in the story--descriptions of place 
and time, descriptions of objects, use of personal names, 
reports of other's speech.  To what extent do you think any 
differences you have found are best understood as gender 

(3)  Can you make any generalizations about gender-based 
differences in the structure of stories?  Consider how the 
stories are begun, how they are ended, where the 'point' of 
the story appears, how long the stories are.

(4)  How do your results compare with those of Johnson and 

(5)  Hand in the stories you examined, along with a 1 or 2 
page essay that contains the answers to questions #2-4.

Harding, S. 1975.  "Women and Words in a Spanish Village" 
          in Toward an Anthropology of Women ed. R. Reiter 
          (NY:  Monthly Review Press), pp. 283-308.
Heath, Shirley Brice.  1983.  "Chapter 5:  Oral Traditions" in 
          Ways with Words (Cambridge:  Cambridge University 
Johnstone, Barbara.  1988.  "Gender and Power in 
          Midwestern Personal Storytelling" Paper presented at 
          Discourses of Power Conference, Tempe AZ Oct. 1988.
Kalcik, Susan.  1975.  "...like Ann's gynecologist or the time I 
          was almost raped" in Women and Folklore  Claire R. 
          Farrer (ed) (Austin:  Univ. of Texas Press), pp. 3-11.
Labov, William.  1972.  "The Transformation of Experience in 
          Narrative Syntax" in Language in the Inner City 
          (Philadelphia:  Univ. of Pennsylvania Press), pp. 354-
Polanyi, Livia.  1985.  Telling the American Story:  A 
          Structural and Cultural Analysis of Conversational 
          Storytelling (Ablex:  Norwood NJ).

               Exercise 5a--Interruptions (Due Feb. 19)


One as yet unresolved question in language and gender 
research is that of whether men interrupt women more than 
women interrupt men.  West and Zimmerman have, in a 
series of articles, claimed that men do interrupt women 
more than women interrupt men, that men interrupt women 
more than men interrupt men, and that men interrupt 
women more even when women are in relatively more 
powerful positions (i.e. a female physician with a male 
patient).  Murray has however raised some questions about 
how one defines interruptions, while Tannen raises further 
questions about the ways that different ethnic interactional 
styles might need to be factored into discussions of 
interruptions.  In this exercise, you'll discuss this question 
with reference to the conversation that you taped.

(1) Read quickly through your transcript, identifying each 
location at which you think one person is interrupting 
another.  Provide each of the participants in the conversation 
with a clean transcript (i.e. one unmarked by you) and ask 
them to do the same.  If you were one of the participants, 
you'll have two sets of judgements (your own and that of the 
other individual).  If you weren't one of the participants, 
you'll have three sets.

(2) Compare the sets of judgements you've obtained.  Are 
there any differences?  Where?  How would you attempt to 
explain the differences of opinion?  Are people using 
different  or similar definitions of interruption?  What are 
those definitions?

(3)   Considering each set of judgements separately, do you 
find that one person interrupts more frequently than the 

(4)  Are there any differences in the severity of the 
interruptions produced by each individual?  If so, how 
would you characterize the differences?  One possible scale 
of severity of interruptions might look something like the 
following (ranging from most to least severe):

-cutting off speaker before she/he makes first point in a 
-cutting off speaker before she/he makes first point in a 
          speaking turn
-cutting off speaker in mid-clause after she/he has made at 
          least one point in a speaking turn
-beginning to speak somewhere around a pause, or what 
          seems to be the end of a clause, or the end of a turn
(This scale is adapted from Murray 1985.  He provides 
examples of each of these sorts of interruptions.)

(5)  What answer does the analysis of your data suggest to 
the question of whether men interrupt women more than 
women interrupt men?  What are some of the problems 
you've encountered in defining an interruption?

(6)  In what ways do you think interruptions might be 
differently defined by people of different ethnic or cultural 

(7)  Turn in a one or two page discussion of questions #2-6. 
This discussion should be amply illustrated with examples 
drawn from your transcript.

Murray, Stephen.  1985.  "Toward a model of members' 
          methods for recognizing interruptions" Language in 
          Society 14(1):30-40.
Tannen, Deborah.  1990.    "Chapter 7:  Who's Interrupting? 
          Issues ofDominance and Control" in You Just Don't 
          Understand:  Women and Men in Conversation (NY: 
          William Morrow and Co.), pp. 188-215.
West, Candace.  1985.  "When the Doctor is a 'Lady':  Power, 
          Status and Gender in Physician-Patient Encounters" in 
          Proceedings of the First Berkeley Women and 
          Language Conference (Berkeley:  Women and 
          Language Group), pp. 62-83.
West, Candace and Don Zimmerman.  1983.  "Small Insult:  A 
          Study of Interruptions in Cross-Sex Conversations 
          Between Unacquainted Persons" in Language, Gender 
          and Society B. Thorne, C. Kramarae and N. Henley 
          (eds.) (Rowley, Mass:  Newbury House), pp. 102-117.
Zimmerman, Don and Candace West.   1974. "Sex roles, 
          Interruptions andSilences in Conversations" in 
          Language and Sex:  Difference and Dominance, B. 
          Thorne and N. Henley (eds.), (Rowley, Mass:  Newbury 
          House), pp. 105-29.

                    EXERCISE 5b--Hedges (Due Feb. 19)


Some early researchers on language and gender (see 
especially Robin Lakoff) claimed that a number of linguistic 
devices that seemed to soften or weaken the force of a claim 
or statement were more frequently used by women than 
men.  Some of these were:

-tag questions (That's a wonderful book, ISN'T IT?)

-rising (i.e. question) intonation where one might expect 
          falling (i.e. declarative) intonation (Q:  When will 
          dinner be ready? A: AROUND SIX O'CLOCK?)

-frequent use of emphasis (also known as speaking in italics) 
          as if to indicate, "Since my saying something by itself 
          is not likely to convince you, I'd better use double 
          force to make sure you see what I mean."  (e.g. What a 
          BEAUTIFUL day!)

-intensive so (I like him SO much!)

-politeness devices (greater use of PLEASE and THANK YOU. 
          Less use of expletives.  Greater use of mitigated 
          syntactic structures.  Consider the following series: 
          Close the door.  Please close the door.  Will you close 
          the door?  Will you please close the door?  Won't you 
          cloe the door?).

-hedges (well, you know, kinda, sort of, like, etc., as in 'he's 
          WELL SORT OF weird" or "she's LIKE SO together").

Much recent scholarship in linguistics has questioned these 
claims in two ways:  (1) by asking whether it's true that 
women use these devices more than men and (2) by asking 
whether any or all of these devices only connote 
tentativeness.  Thus, O'Barr and Atkins demonstrate that 
many of these forms are used by both men and women who 
are found in powerless positions in society, and are less 
frequently used by men and women in more powerful 
positions.  When Dubois and Crouch examined the use of tag 
questions at an academic conference, they found that MEN 
used more tags.  Work done by Holmes, Guy et al and 
McLemore has questioned whether any of the forms named 
above has, and only has, the function of mitigating a 
statement.  Guy et al shows that use of question intonation is 
increasing in Australian English in situations where, for 
example a speaker is making sure that a listener is following 
a complicated description or set of instructions (as in IT'S 
McLemore has demonstrated that rising intonation is 
interpreted in some Texan sororities as a special request for 
increased attention or participation in some unusual activity. 
It serves to heighten and mark a special interactional bond 
between sorority sisters.  Holmes has demonstrated that a 
hedge like YOU KNOW might be used in a variety of ways, 
some expressing uncertainty, but others expressing linguistic 
AROUND HERE, YOU KNOW) or shared knowledge (WELL YOU 

In this exercise you'll be examining uses of hedges in your 

(1)  Make a list of all the sorts of hedges which are present 
in the transcript of the conversation you've taped.  Include 
an example of the use of each hedge on your list.

(2)  Take the two hedges that appear most frequently and 
pull out or highlight ALL of the utterances in which they 
occur.  This will be your hedge-corpus.

(3)  Does one of the speakers you've taped use either or both 
of the hedges in your hedge-corpus more frequently than 
the other speaker does?

(4) Do the two hedges in your hedge-corpus function in the 
same way in every utterance?  Do they function in the same 
way for the two individuals?  Before saying yes to either of 
these two questions, consult with at last one other person 
(the best consultant will probably be one of the people 
you've taped) to see if that person agrees.  If the hedges do 
all function in the same way, write a one or two page essay 
(drawing upon examples from your transcript) that argues 
this point. Include the answers to questions #1-3. 

(5)  If the hedges in your corpus do not all function in the 
same way, write a one or two page essay that exemplifies 
and discusses each of the ways in which the hedges do work. 
Include the answers to questions #1-3.

Dubois, B. and I. Crouch.  1975.  "The question of tag 
          questions in women's speech:  they don't really use 
          more of them, do they"?"  Language in Society 4:389-
Guy, Gregory et al.  1986.  "An Intonational Change in 
          Progress in Australian English" Language in Society 
Holmes, J. 1986.  "Functions of YOU KNOW in women's and 
          men's speech" Language in Society 15:1-22.
Lakoff, R. 1975.  Language and Woman's Place (NY:  Harper 
          and Row).
O'Barr, W. and B. Atkins.  1980.  "Women's Language or 
          Powerless Language?" in Women and Language in 
          Literature and Society.  Eds. McConnell-Ginet, Borker 
          and Furman (Praeger), pp. 93-109.
McLemore, Cynthia.  1991.  "The Interpretation of L*H in 
          English" in Texas Linguistics Forum 32:   Discourse, C. 
          McLemore (ed.) (Austin:  Univ. of Texas Dept. of 
          Linguistics and the Center for Cognitive Science), pp. 
Underhill, Robert.  1988.  "Like is, like, focus" American 
          Speech 63:234-46.

                    Exercise 6--Sexism in Language (Due March 5)

This course has concentrated for the most part on the ways 
in which language is used differently by women and by men, 
that is, the ways in which men and women talk differently. 
The different status of men and women in society is also 
reflected, however, by the ways in which women and men 
are talked about differently.  In this exercise, you'll be 
collecting examples of sexist use of language and discussing 
possible approaches to eliminating it.

(1)  Some words are used to refer both to people in general 
and men in particular, while the feminine counterparts refer 
only to women, and not to people in general.  Some examples 
include:  man, man-to-man, prehistorical man, brotherhood, 
you guys, policeman.  In addition, masculine words are often 
used as the base from which feminine words are formed, but 
word-formation rarely goes in the other direction.  Examples 
include Paul/Paulette, governor/governess, major/majorette, 
star/starlet.  Find ten other examples of such asymmetry in 
language.  What sorts of alternative usages can you suggest 
in each case?   (For example, one can substitute police officer 
for police man, person-to-person for man-to-man, 
prehistoric people for prehistoric man, etc.  One can also use 
star to refer to male and female performers.)

(2) Of the words which serve as generic referents, the one 
which has recently received most attention is the use of the 
'generic' masculine pronoun he/him/his in such sentences as 
the average student is worried about his grades, we will hire 
the best qualified person regardless of his sex, each student 
can select his own topic, everyone should do his best, each 
student will do better if he has a voice in the decision, and 
when everyone contributes his own ideas, the discussion will 
be a success.  A number of recent sociolinguistic and 
psychological studies have demonstrated that the masculine 
pronoun, though traditionally used as a generic or neutral 
referent for any individual, is strongly linked in most 
people's minds, and in most people's usages, with men only. 
Many journals, magazines and newspapers now require that 
submissions be rewritten in more inclusionary language. 
Several strategies suggested for avoiding the use of the 
'generic' masculine pronoun include the following:

-Drop the masculine pronoun
          The average student is worried about grades.
          We will hire the best qualified person regardless of 

-Rewrite the sentence in the plural rather than the singular
          Students can select their own topics.

-Substitute the pronoun one/one's for he/his
          One should do one's best.

-Use he or she, his or her
          Each student will do better if she or he has a voice in 
          the decision.

-Use their when the subject is an indefinite pronoun
          When everyone contributes their own ideas, the
          discussion will be a success.

Collect 20 examples of sentences in each of which you find 
the use of the 'generic' masculine pronoun OR the use of one 
of these alternative strategies.  These sentences may be 
culled from naturally occurring speech (you may want to 
consult your transcript), from radio shows, newspapers, 
magazines, soap operas, your own term papers, etc. 
Carefully note the source of each sentence.  Which 
formulation do you find most frequently?  Do men and 
women tend to use the same formulation, or different ones? 
Is any one formulation favored in certain discourse genres 
(e.g. newspapers or casual conversations with friends)? 
Consider at least 2 objections someone might offer to the 
alternative formulations.  How might you counter such 

(3)  What do ways of referring to men and women 
demonstrate about the values and behaviors associated with 
the two sexes?  The two lists below contain terms of 
reference for men and women.  When you evaluate the 
connotations associated with each word, do you find any 
patterns?  (One way of looking at the connotations is to mark 
each word according to whether it is associated with Animals 
(A), Objects (O), Food (F), Sex (S), Young (Y), Old (Ol), No 
Positive or Negative Connotation-neutral (N), Positive 
Connotation (P),  Derogatory or Negative Connotation (D). 
Each word may be characterizable by more than one of these 
features.  Can you add any words to these lists?

If you speak a language other than English, you may choose 
to create such lists for the language that you're familiar with 
and evaluate those patterns instead of evaluating the English 
words listed here. 

woman      lady        girl         girlie       lass         sister
broad      chick       babe         biddy        dame         doll
damsel     crone       dish         honey        miss         nympho
skirt      sugar       toots        wench        hag          tramp
bitch      whore       tease        harpie       darling      sweetie
bunny      maiden      witch        catch        tart         vamp
squaw      angel       cookie       hussy        gossip       airhead
dog        dyke        lesbian

man        gent          boy        guy        fellow        gentleman
lad        brother       bloke      chap       codger        dude
geek       geezer        nerd       old goat   schmuck       sport
stag       stud          hunk       jock       bum           buddy
he-man     wimp          jerk       creep      redneck       bastard
prick      asshole       fairy      gay        faggot        motherf-er

(4)  Often word choice reflects unexamined attitudes about 
appropriate sex roles, so that terms frequently or 
normatively asociated with one sex are modified when used 
with the other sex.  Examples include: nurse (male nurse), 
doctor (lady doctor), family man (but not family woman), 
career woman (but not career man).  In other cases the 
feminine referent trivializes the woman's work/career as in 
authoress or poetess.  Collect five examples of such sex-role 
stereotyping.  If you were writing guidelines for nonsexist 
use of language, what sorts of substitutions or suggestions 
would you offer to deal with such words?

(5)  Add any other examples of sexist language that you may 
have heard during the quarter.  Drawing upon these and 
your responses to questions #1-4, address the following 
question:  What evidence is there that changing the way we 
use language will reshape power opportunities for men and 
for women?

(6) Turn in your responses to questions #1-5.

Cameron, Deborah.  1985.  Feminism and Linguistic Theory 
          (London:  Macmillan Press).  See especially Chapter 5: 
          "Making Changes--Can We Decontaminate Sexist 
Dubois, Betty Lou and Isabel Crouch.  1987.  "Linguistic 
          Disruption:  He/She, S/He, He or She, He-She" in 
          Women and Language in Transition (Joyce Penfield, 
          ed.) (Albany:  SUNY), pp. 28-36.
Frank, Francine Warrman and Paula Treichler (eds.).  1989. 
          Language, Gender and Professional Writing (NY: 
Henley, Nancy.  1987.  "This New Species That Seeks a New 
          Language:  On Sexism in Language and Language 
          Change" in Women and Language in Transition (Joyce 
          Penfield ed.), (Albany:  SUNY), pp. 3-27.
Lakoff, Robin.   1975.  Language and Woman's Place.
Maggio, Rosalie.  The Non-Sexist Word-Finder:  A Dictionary 
          of Gender-Free Usage.
Martyna, Wendy.  1980.  "Beyond the He/Man Approach: 
          The Case for Linguistic Change"  Signs 5:482-93.
Miller, Casey and Kate Swift.   1981.  The Handbook of Non-
          sexist Writing (NY:  Lippincott).
Nilsen, Alleen Pace.  1987.  "Guidelines Against Sexist 
          Language:  A Case History" in Women and Language in 
          Transition (Joyce Penfield, ed.) (Albany:  SUNY), pp. 
          37-64.  (With an appendix on guidelines for nonsexist 
          usage of language).
Piercy, Marge.  1976.  Woman on the Edge of Time (Feminist 
          Science-fiction which attempts innovative use of 
          gender-free referents.)
Spender, Dale.  1980.  Man-Made Language (NY:  Routledge 
          and Kegan Paul).

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