Research on Gender and Language

After reading, in Ahearn, Chapter 10 on language and gender and Janet Holmes on gender and complimenting, I would like you to make some ethnographic observations of speech patterns around you. In this fieldwork-based assignment, you will observe speech for evidence (or not) of gendered patterns of speech. Focus on one typical pattern often associated with gendered speech based upon this week’s reading and make careful observations to try and determine whether this pattern of speech holds true or not and why. You might reflect upon how such patterns may develop within gendered speech communities, as well as how patterns may also be difficult to observe due to the fact that people participate in many mixed-gendered contexts, and thus likely share ways of speaking. The question you are trying to address here is whether or not language may be affected in particular ways by gender. To to do this try focusing on just one of the patterns discussed in the reading such as: interruptions, compliments, tag questions, up speech, female register, standard pronunciation.

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In one page provide your description of your findings—your observations can come from several different settings and contexts, but if you can, please briefly describe the context, as context is always relevant.
In the second page present an analysis of your findings. Briefly summarize the research on the language pattern you are focusing on and discuss how your findings relate to that research. Did you find what you expected to find? What was surprising? Can you make a tentative conclusion or tentative hypothesis based upon what you observed?

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