Language and Sex. Sex differences in language.

Essay by OuzoUniversity, Bachelor's March 2004

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1. Introduction

2. The interaction of social and biological processes in women's and men's speech

3. Gender specific usage of speech

3.1. Phonetical studies

3.2. Grammatical studies

4. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The orientation of looking at language variation as different cultural and sociological types, and the development of linguistics in the maturity stages has led to the establishing of a sub discipline in linguistics called sociolinguistics. This branch of linguistics studies the infinite varieties of language within language: age differences, cultural differences, occupational vocabulary, slang,, styles of speech and writing, and many others, but including of course sex differences in language, which is the main subject in the following chapters.

2. The interaction of social and biological processes in women's and men's speech

An important focus of debate within the research on sex differences and language is the extent to which social and biological processes each contribute to differences in women's and men's speech and language.

The disciplines that contribute research of the study of sex differences and language, particularly anthropology, linguistics, and psychology, have in common a view of human behaviour guided and directed by both biological and social processes as the cause of gender - differentiated language - related behaviour.

Cross-cultural studies of gender and language and language socialization argue that there is enormous diversity in the role of language in the social construction of gender and that socialisation effects appear at a very early age. Parents speak differently from each other; they speak differently to boys than to girls; and boys and girls speak differently. These two sections offer convincing testimony of human plasticity and of the ways in which biology does not constrain the nature of gender in human societies.

In general, studies of gender view different amounts of sex hormones as the immediate cause...