anth 4 ppt 12

anth 4 ppt 12 - Thought qs What is gender? Language &...

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1 The study of how language practices relate to gender and culture Thought qs What is gender? How many genders are there? Is gender different from sex? b yes, sex is a biological trait, while gender is a learned, culturally shared social construct Grammatical Gender What’s the difference between grammatical gender & social gender? Grammatical gender separates words into different classes which follow different rules It is a fixed, arbitrary system of classifying nouns E.g., In Spanish, suffix of adj and determiner choice match the noun’s grammatical gender s Masculine noun hombre: El hombre gordo the fat man vs. s Feminine noun mujer: La mujer gorda the fat woman Does not always coincide with real gender of its referent (if referent has a gender) E.g. German Mädchen means girl, but is in neuter gender. Is not consistent across lgs (next slide) Grammatical Gender Cont. Does grammatical gender affect how ppl think about an object? b Yes. e.g., bridge s feminine in German, masculine in Spanish s German & Spanish speakers were asked (in English!) how they’d describe a bridge: Answers varied: s German speakers said beautiful, elegant, fragile, peaceful, pretty, and slender s Spanish speakers said big, dangerous, long, strong, sturdy, and towering Why interesting? b The grammatical gender motivates them to index descriptions which are associated with social gender Social Gender : the social construct of dividing people and practices into different groups based on sexual preferences and/or other cultural constructs What sorts of language features evoke masculinity or femininity to you? Does sex predict language practices? What do you think? There is a relationship for some features of size (length of vocal tract, dimensions of mouth cavity) Physically bigger ppl have lower voices ditto for animals—the bigger the animal, the deeper the voice But, there is no culture where men (always physically bigger) have higher avg pitch than women
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2 But, lg practices don’t just reflect one’s physical size s They vary across cultures, e.g. US vs. Japan Females in Japan have a much higher mean vocal pitch than females in US s Can’t be explained by physical size How do we explain it then? The culturally constructed notion of femininity is associated with different linguistic traits in Japan than it is here Robin Lakoff (1973) First linguistic analysis of men’s and women’s speech in article Language and Woman’s Place s Rather simplistic, but it got discussion & research started… What did she say? She offered a bunch of examples of what she
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2010 for the course ANT 004 taught by Professor Chand during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.

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anth 4 ppt 12 - Thought qs What is gender? Language &...

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