14. MIMI KLAIMAN, University of Indiana
Topics in Linguistics: Language and Women 1992
The past three decades have seen an explosion of high-quality
scholarly research into women's issues as reflected in communication
and language. This course covers three general areas in the study of
language and women: (1) language, power, and women's status; (2)
language and sex stereotypes; and (3) male vs female style in
communication and linguistic interaction. Students should come away
from the course with enhanced awareness of the role of language in
relation to issues of inequality and sexual politics.
D. Graddol and J. Swann, Gender Voices, Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Material from other sources is also assigned. Library reserve is being
requested to stock all materials listed on the syllabus.
Some short exercises (participation is mandatory) will be done in
class. There will be three end-of-unit quizzes which must be taken on
time (under ordinary circumstances, course requirements cannot be
fulfilled late). The main requirement is a term paper of 10-15 pages
(2500-3750 words) due at the last class meeting for the course. Each
student is responsible for discussing a term paper topic with the
instructor after class hours before the end of week six.
The tentative grading formula is: term paper, 40%; quizzes, 30%;
participation, 20%; attendance, 10%. Students are advised to read the
section on 'Academic Honesty' in the undergraduate Bulletin.
*no class Thursday-Friday, Nov. 22-23 (Thanksgiving Recess)
UNIT 1. Power and Language
Week 1. The Attack on 'Gender'
Required: Text, ch. 5. Recommended: R. Brown and A. Gilman,
'The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity', in Sebeok; D.G. MacKay,
'Prescriptive Grammar and the Pronoun Problem', pp. 38-56 in Thorne
and Kramarae; A. Bodine, 'Androcentrism in Prescriptive Grammar', p.
166-186 in Cameron; C. Mcfadden, 'In Defense of Gender', pp. 320-
324 in Eschholz; D. Hofstadter, 'A Person Paper on Purity in
Language', pp. 187-196 in Cameron.
Week 2. The Attack on 'Gender' (continued)
Required: M. Schulz, 'The Semantic Derogation of Women', pp.
64-75 in Thorne and Henley; A. Nilsen, 'Sexism in English', pp. 277-
288 in Eschholz.
Week 3. Power and Control
Required: Text, pp. 146-55; Lakoff 1990, Ch.1. Recommended:
Lefcourt, Ch. 1.
Week 4. Controlling the 'Agender': Social Roles and Communicative
Acts Required: Gardner 1980. Recommended: U.M. Sharma, 'Purdah
and Public Space', pp. 213-39 in de Souza; M. Frye, 'Male
Chauvinism: A Conceptual Analysis', pp. 7-22 in Vetterling-Braggin.
Week 5. Written Language and Sex Roles
Required: Mills. Recommended: Spender, Ch. 7; D. Spender,
'Defining Reality: A Powerful Tool', pp. 194-205 in Kramarae; M.
Schulz, 'Minority Writers', pp. 206-217 in Kramarae; D. Fricke,
'Phallic Criticism', pp. 41-50 in Berryman and Eman.
UNIT 2. Language and Sex Stereotypes
Week 6. Overview of Sex-Related Linguistic Stereotypes in English
Required: Lakoff 1973; O. Jesperson, 'The Woman', pp. 201-220
in Cameron. Recommended: W. O'Barr and B. Atkins, '"Women's
Language" or "Powerless Language"?', pp. 93-110 in McConnell-
Week 7. Expressing Politeness and Powerlessness
Required: Text, Ch. 4; P. Brown, 'How and Why Are Women
More Polite', pp. 111-136 in McConnell-Ginet. Recommended:
Leech, Chs. 4-6; N. Henley, 'Power, Sex, and Nonverbal
Communication', p. 184-203 in Thorne and Henley; P. Fishman,
'Conversational Insecurity,' pp. 234-241 in Cameron.
Week 8. Compliments
Required: Herbert. Recommended: Wolfson, 'The Compliment
Formula' in Coulmas.
Week 9. How Are Sex-Related Linguistic Stereotypes Acquired?
Required: C. Edelsky, 'Acquisition of an Aspect of
Communicative Competence: Learning What it Means to Talk Like a
Lady', pp. 225-43 in Ervin-Tripp and Kernan. Recommended:
Sheldon 1992; S. Ervin-Tripp et al., 'Language and Power in the
Family', pp. 116-135 in Kramarae; J..B. Gleason and Greif, 'Men's
Speech to Young Children', pp. 140-152 in Thorne and Kramarae.
Week 10. How Are Sex-Related Linguistic Stereotypes Acquired?
UNIT 3 Male vs Female Style in Communication
Week 11. Community and Contest
Required: Tannen, Chs. 6-7; J. Pfeiffer, 'Girl Talk-Boy Talk', pp.
325-333 in Eschholz. Recommended: Downes, Ch. 8.
Week 12. Power and Conversational Style
Required: Edelsky 1981. Recommended: Spender, Ch. 3; J.
Swann, 'Talk Control: An Illustration from the Classroom', pp. 122-40
in Coates and Cameron; N. Woods, 'Talking Shop', pp. 141-57 in
Coates and Cameron; C. West and D.H. Zimmerman, 'Small Insults: A
Study of Interruptions', pp. 103-18 in Thorne and Kramarae; D.H.
Zimmerman and C. West, 'Sex Roles, Interruptions, and Silences in
Conversation', pp. 105-29 in Thorne and Henley; D. Jones, 'Gossip:
Notes on Women's Oral Culture', pp. 242-250 in Cameron; S. Herring,
'Gender and Participation in Computer-Mediated Linguistic
Discourse', 1992 ms. (available from instructor).
Week 13. The Manipulation of Silence
Required: K. Dierks-Stewart, 'Sex Differences in Nonverbal
Communication', pp. 112-121 in Berryman and Eman; J. W. Sattel,
'Men, Inexpressiveness, and Power', pp. 119-24 in Thorne and
Week 14. The Future of Communication Between the Sexes
Required: Tannen, Ch. 10. Recommended: C. Kramarae and M.
Jensen, 'Women Take Back the Talk', pp. 137-58 in Penfield.
Week 15. Review.
Materials Requested for Library Reserve
Berryman, C. and V. Eman (eds.). 1980. Communication, language
and sex. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Cameron, D. (ed.). 1990. The feminist critique of language. London:
Coates, J. and D. Cameron (eds.). 1988. Women in their speech
Coulmas, F. (ed.) 1981. Conversational routine. The Hague:
Downes, W. 1984. Language and society. London: Fontana.
Edelsky, C. 1981. 'Who's Got the Floor?'. Language in Society
Ervin-Tripp, S. and C. Mitchell-Kernan (eds.). 1977. Child discourse.
New York: Academic Press.
Eschholz, P., et al. (eds.). 1990. Language awareness. NY: St.
Gardner, C.B. 1980. 'Passing By: Street Remarks, Address Rights,
and the Urban Female'. Sociolinguistic Inquiry 50.3-4:328-56.
Herbert, R.K. 1990. 'Sex-based Differences in Compliment Behavior'.
Language and Society 19.2:201-24.
Kramarae, C., et al. (eds.). 1984. Language and power. Beverly
Lakoff, R.T. 1973. 'Language and Woman's Place'. Language in
Lakoff, R.T. 1990. Talking power. Chicago: University of Chicago
Leech, G. 1983. Principles of pragmatics. Longman.
Lefcourt, H.M. 1982. Locus of control. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates. 2d ed.
McConnell-Ginet, S., et al. (eds.). 1980. Women and language in
literature and society. NY: Praeger.
Mills, S. 'The Male Sentence'. Language & Communication 7.3:189-
Penfield, J. 1987. Women and language in transition. Albany: State
University of New York Press.
Sebeok, T. 1960. Style in language. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
Sheldon, A. 1992. '"Kings are Royaler than Queens": Language and
Socialization'. Young Children 45.2:4-9.
de Souza, A. (ed.). 1980. Women in contemporary India and South
Asia. Delhi: Manohar.
Spender, D. 1980. Man made language. London: Routledge & Kegan
Tannen, D. 1990. You just don't understand. New York: Ballentine.
Thorne, B. and N. Henley (eds.). 1975. Language and sex:
Difference and dominance. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Thorne, B. and C. Kramarae (eds.). 1983. Language, gender and
society. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Vetterling-Braggin, M. 1981. Sexist language: A modern
philosophical analysis. Littlefield, Adams & Co.
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