20. MARY PARLEE AND ANA CELIA ZENTELLA
IDS U800.09, Spring 1988
Profs. Mary Parlee and Ana Celia Zentella
Language, Gender, and Social Identity
In this course we will examine the role of language use and
other communicative phenomena in the construction and
reproduction of the social identities of groups and persons
characterized by differences in access to and control over
social and cultural resources. Readings will be drawn from
empirical and theoretical work in sociolinguistics,
psycholinguistics, and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship
to provide a basis for the integration of individual
consciousness, situated talk, and social structure. Beginning
with research on the ways conceptions of gender are
inherent in the structure of language, we will examine in
detail the creation of social identities through language use,
focusing on research on genderlects, power, cross-cultural
comparisons, and ethnic identity among U.S. minorities.
Sustained consideration will be given to the prevalent
methodologies in research on these topics, and future
directions for work on language and social identities will be
Depending upon the interests and backgrounds of class
members, a fieldwork project on one of the topics covered in
the course may be carried out.
The following books are recommended for purchase:
Gumperz, JJ (Ed.), Language and Social Identity. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1982. (LSI)
Lakoff, R. Language and Women's Place. New York:
Harper Colophon Books, 1975. (LWP)
Philips, SU, Steele, C, and Tanz, C (Eds.), Language, Gender,
and Sex in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1987. (LGSCP)
Thorne, B, Kramarae, C, and Henley, NM (Eds.), Language,
Gender, and Society. New York: Newbury House Publishers
(a division of Harper and Row Publishers), 1983. (LGS)
Additional readings will be drawn from: Thorne, B and
Henley, NM (Eds.), Language and Sex: Difference and
Dominance. Rowley, MA: Newbury House Publishers, 1975.
February 3: Introduction to the course
I. Sex bias and the structure of language
Lakoff, R. In LWP, pp 19-42.
Thorne, B, Kramerae, C, and Henley, NM. Language, gender,
and society: opening a second decade of research. In LGS,
McConnell-Ginet, S. Feminism in Linguistics. In PA
Treichler, C Kramereae, and B Stafford (Eds.), Alma Mater:
Theory and Practice in Feminist Scholarship. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1985, pp 159-176.
Martyna, W. Beyond the he/man approach: The case for
nonsexist language. In LGS, pp 25-38.
MacKay, DG. Prescriptive grammar and the pronoun
problem. In LGS, pp 38-53.
Schultz, MR. The semantic derogation of woman. In LSDD,
Graham, A. The making of a nonsexist dictionary. In LSDD,
Bodine, A. Sex differentiation in language. In LSDD, pp
Henley, NM. Sex bias in language: what we don't know.
Invited address presented at the Eastern Psychological
Association, New York, April, 1986. (Xerox on reserve).
Recommended: Cohn, C. Sex and death in the rational
world of defense intellectuals. SIGNS: Journal of Women in
Culture and Society, 1987, 12(4), pp 687-718.
II. Language Use, Power, and Social Identity
Lakoff, R. In LWP, pp 51-64.
McConnell-Ginet, S. Intonation in a man's world. In LGS,
Swacker, M. The sex of the speaker as a sociolinguistic
variable. In LSDD, pp 76-83.
O'Barr, WM and Atkins, BK. "Women's language" or
"powerless language?" In S McConnell-Ginet, R Borker, and N
Furman (Eds.), Women and language in literature and
society. New York: Praeger, 1980, pp 93-110.
March 2, 9, 16:
Lakoff, R. In LWP, pp 64-83.
Brown, P. How and why are women polite: Some evidence
from a Mayan community. In S McConnell-Ginet, R Borker,
and N Furman (Eds.), op cit pp 111-136
Henley, NM. Power, sex, and nonverbal communication. In
LSDD, pp 184-202.
Goffman, E. Gender Advertisements. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1979, pp 10-27.
Elshtain, JB. Femininst discourse and its discontents:
language, power, and meaning. SIGNS: Journal of Women in
Culture and Society, 1982, 7(3) Spring, pp 603-621.
C) Male-Female Interactions
West, C and Zimmerman, DH. Small insults: A study of
interruptions in cross-sex conversations between
unacquainted persons. In LGS, pp 103-118.
Fishman, PM. Interaciton: The work women do. In LGS,
Bennett, A. Strategies and counterstrategies in the use of
yes-no questions in discourse. In LSI, pp 95-107.
Sattel, JW. Men, inexpressiveness, and power. In LGS, pp
Brooks Gardener, C. Passing by: Street remarks, address
rights and the urban female. In J Baugh and J Sherzer (Eds.),
Language in use. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983,
Wolfson, N and Manes, J. "Don't 'dear' me!". In S
McConnell-Ginet, R Borker, and N Furman (Eds.) , op cit pp
D) Cross-Cultural Research
Philips, S. Introductions to Part I. In LGSCP, pp 15-26.
Maltz, DN. and Borker, RA. A cultural approach to male-
female miscommunication. In LSI, pp 195, 216.
Tannen, D. Ethnic style in male-female conversation. In
LSI, pp 217-231.
Young, LWL. Instcrutability revisited. In LSI, pp 72-81.
E) Language and Ethnic Identity among US Minorities
Stanback, MH. Language and Black woman's place"
Evidence from the Black middle class. In PA Treichler, C
Kramerae, and B Stafford (Eds.), op cit, pp 177-196.
Zentella, AC. Language and female identity in the Puerto
Rican Community. In J. Penfield (Ed.), Women and Language
in Transition. Albany: SUNY Press, 1987, pp 167-180.
Nichols, PC. Linguistic options and choices for Black
women in the rural South. In LGS, pp 54-68.
Klee, CA. Differential language usage patterns by males
and females in a rural community in the Rio Grande Valley.
In T Morgan, B Van Patten, and J Lee (Eds.). Language and
Language Use: Studies in Spanish. Washington DC:
University Press of America, forthcoming, pp 125-145.
(Xerox on reserve).
Patella, V and Kuvlesky, WP. Situational variation in
language pattrns of Mexican American boys and girls. Social
Science Quarterly, 1973, Vol. 53, March, 855-864.
III. Methodological Approaches to the Study of Language
and Social Identity
A) Quantitative Research
Trudgill, P. Sex, covert prestige, and linguistic change in
the urban British of Norwich. In LSDD, pp 88-104.
Milroy. Social context of speech events. pp 71-84, 107-
(Collect data for in-class analysis)
IJSL 17. American Minority Women in Sociolinguistic
Perspective. Betty Lou DuBois and Isabel Crouch (Eds.)
April 20 and 27:
B) Qualitative Research
Gumperz, JJ and Cook-Gumperz, J. Introduction: language
and the communication of social identity. In LSI, pp 1-21.
Jupp, TC, Rogerts, C and Cook-Gumperz, J. Language and
disadvantage: the hidden processes. In LSI, pp 232-256.
Akinnaso, FN and Ajirotutu, CS. Performance and ethnic
style in job interviews. In LSI, pp 119-144.
Hansell, M and Ajirotutu, CS. Negotiating interpretations in
interethnic settings. In LSI, pp 119-144.
IV. New Directions
Shapiro, F. Historical notes on the vocabulary of the
women's movement. American Speech, Spring, 1985.
Daley, M. Wickedary. Boston: Beacon Press, 1987.
Penfield, J. (Ed.), Women and Language in Transition.
Albany: SUNY Press, 1987 (selections to be assigned).
Miller, C. and Swift, K. Words and Women: New Language
in New Times. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.
(selections to be assigned).
American Psychological Association, Publication Manual,
Guidelines for nonsexist language use.
V. Toward an Integration
Discussion of individual projects/papers.
Cameron, Deborah. Feminism and Linguistic Theory. New
York: St. Martin's Press. 1985.
Coates, Jennifer. Women, Men and Language: A
Sociolinguistic account of sex differences in language. New
York: Longman. 1986.
Hill, Alette Olin. Mother Tongue, Father Time: A decade of
linguistic revolt. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Frank, Francine and Frank Anshen. Albany: SUNY 1983.
Holmes, J. "Functions of 'you know' in women's and men's
speech." Language in Society 15(1), March 1986.
Kipers, PS, "Gender and Topic." Language in Society. 16(4),
Penfield, Joyce (Ed.) Women and Language in Transition.
Albany: SUNY Press, 1987.
Shapiro, Fred. "Historical Notes on the Vocabulary of the
Women's Movement". American Speech. Spring 1985.
Smith, Philip. Language, the Sexes and Society. Oxford:
Basil Blackwell. 1985.
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