Section 1: Wednesday 12:00-2:40 PM

Professor: Carolyn MacKay

How do individuals project particular gender identities through language?  This course is designed to provide a detailed examination of the relationship between language and gender.  We will investigate how language use mediates, and is mediated by, social constructions of gender and sexuality.  Because language use is one of the most important factors influencing our judgments about others, it is important to understand how gender roles are involved in those judgments.  We will describe and analyze the ways that men and women use language (including pronunciation, word choice, grammar, conversational norms, politeness strategies, and narrative styles) to construct stereotypical and non-stereotypical gender identities.  In addition we will look at cross-cultural studies of language and gender and the patterns of language socialization of girls and boys.  Western European assumptions about language use will be assessed in light of this cross-cultural evidence.  This course will use the methods and analyses taken from linguistics, anthropology, and psychology in examining the interaction of gender, gender identities, the performance of gender and language use.  We will focus not only on what researchers have hypothesized about these differences, but also on original research by students that will add to the discussion.

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