THIS COURSE MEETS WITH LINGUISTICS L113.
This course is about language and gender: how women and men use language and how language reflects the status of women and men in society. Many people have specific ideas about the way women speak: women are more polite than men and they speak better than them, they talk and gossip more than men, they use expressions like kind of and seek approval for what they say by making their statements sound like questions or by adding tag questions: Itís a nice day, isnít it? In this course, we will ask ourselves whether any of the stereotypes about womenís language are true. We will try to determine how differently women and men really speak and understand why this should be the case. We will examine gender differences in various cultures and seek to establish whether the differences are genetic or social. We will also examine claims that English and many other languages are sexist and that they deny women a level of recognition equal to that granted to men.
The primary goal of this course is to engage students in a critical examination of the various ways in which language and gender interact so they become able to tell apart myth from reality.