GWS + Language

GWS + Language - GWS 300 13 April 2007 Dr. Taylor...

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GWS 300 13 April 2007 Dr. Taylor “What does Language Have to do With Anything?” Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Language is also the vocabulary of a certain profession, domain or group of people. The Straight Mind by Monique Wittig and From Language and Woman’s Place by Robin Lakoff take different approaches to discussing language. Both Lakoff and Wittig discuss language as a concept. Wittig refers to language as a phenomenon. Lakoff calls language a socialization process. Lakoff relates language to gender, while Wittig relates language to sexual preference. Both authors blame language on the way certain groups of people are perceived by others. When language and gender are brought together, it seems that language itself, has two genders. When a little girl “talks rough” and is scolded and put in her place, this is an example of the socialization process (Lakoff 262). Starting from an early age, you are judged by the way you speak. Girls are taught to speak like young ladies. If they talk or act like boys in any way, they are scolded because it is not lady like to act that way. Who should be the one to determine what is or is not lady like? “ Although is may seem harmless, it raises serious problems for the girl when she becomes a woman.” “Because of the way she speaks… she will be accused of being unable to speak precisely or to express herself forcefully” (Lakoff 263). Their mothers or the women in their life are the major influences of children, thus their first language spoken is “women’s language”. As they grow older, boys in particular go through a stage of rough talk. By the age of ten, there are two separate languages for boys and girls (Lakoff 263). As a girl grows older, she has two options of which language she can speak. If she chooses to speak like a lady “she is ridiculed for being unable to think” (Lakoff 263). “If she refuses to speak like a
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lady, she is called unfeminine. By choosing one option “she is less than a woman”, but choosing the other option makes her “less than a person” (Lakoff 263). Men do not have to deal with this decision or be degraded because of the way they speak. They speak “rough” and no one blinks or looks at them like they are doing something wrong. By having to learn two ways of speaking, she will never master either language and will be put in situations where she has to decide which language would fit best (Lakoff 263). The “women’s language” denies her the means of expressing herself strongly; she is never a serious person with individual views (Lakoff 263). Language plays a major role in how others see you. The way you phrase a sentence can make
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GWS + Language - GWS 300 13 April 2007 Dr. Taylor...

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