5.0256 Gender, Language, Anthropology (2/57)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 29 Jul 1991 22:17:25 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0256. Monday, 29 Jul 1991.

(1) Date: Sat, 20 Jul 91 12:57 BST (19 lines)
Subject: Re: Gender and Anthropology (5.0239)

(2) Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1991 11:08 EST (38 lines)
Subject: gender & language

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 91 12:57 BST
Subject: Re: Gender and Anthropology (5.0239)

Henrietta Moore's _Feminism and Anthropology_ (Polity 1988 in the UK) is
certainly worth looking at, partly because it's a summary of most of the
relevant literature up to that date and so the bibliography should
contain lots of helpful other readings. You might also like to look at
her earlier ethnography of gender relations among a group in Kenya:
_Space, Text and Gender_ (Cambridge U Press 1986).

Similarly, Shirley Ardener, head of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies
of Women here in Oxford, has edited numerous collections of essays over
the last 10-15 years (eg. Percieving Women London (Dent) 1975), which I
uwould imagine should be easily available in the

Marcus Banks

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------46----
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1991 11:08 EST
Subject: gender & language

SUBJECT: Gender & Language

With regard to the recent HUMANIST discussions of gender
differences in language, my reading of the empirical research
literature (also consistent with my own findings) is that no
simple set of features distinguishes men's *ORAL* language from
women's *ORAL* language. On the other hand, people typically
harbor stereotypes of men's and women's speech. It just happens
that these stereotypes are only shallowly rooted in the realities
of language behavior. It surely is the case, however, that
men's typical oral *INTERACTION PATTERNS* (e.g., topic switching,
interruption, style of conflict resolution) differ from women's.

In the last couple of years I have been inquiring about gender-
linked differences in *WRITTEN* language. It's an intriguing
question on a number of counts. For example, to what degree is
language style constitutive of a body of literature we might want
to call "women's literature?" Or perhaps language style is
entirely besides the point in demarcating women's literature.

My own data consist of nonliterary writing produced by college
students. Given the usual caveats about nongeneralizable (and
maybe uninteresting) samples and so on, I think we have
identified some gender-typical differences in written language.
For example, in our corpus, women really do use more punctuation
of emotional involvement (underlining and exclamation points).
Women in our sample really do produce more "egocentric sequences"
(probably a poor name for this category) like I GUESS and I

Don Rubin
Universities of Georgia & Cincinnati