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Unformatted text preview: 9/23/2010 1 1 HUMA100E Introduction to Sociolinguistics Language and Sex: Variation in Linguistic Behavior among Male and Female Speakers 24 September 2010 Prof. Robert S. BAUER Division of Humanities Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Topics in This Lecture • Encoding (marking) of sex-based differences in language • Grammatical gender is not part of sociolinguistics • Descriptions of male and female speakers using different speech sounds • Tendencies in linguistic variation among men and women speakers • Covert prestige and speakers’ self- evaluation of their linguistic behavior 2 Linguistic Terms • Semantic feature • Semantic universal • Morphology • Lexicalization • Grammaticalization • Markedness, Marked and Unmarked forms • Genderlect • Linguistic variable, linguistic variant • Overt prestige, covert prestige 3 4 A Person’s Sex is a Basic Feature of His or Her Social Identity “. . . the first thing you notice about somebody when you first meet them is what sex they are . . . The division of the human race into male and female is so fundamental and obvious that we take it for granted.” (Trudgill 2000:61) 5 Sex Differences are Encoded (marked) in all Languages “The fact that the difference is so basic means that it is hardly surprising that it is also reflected and indicated in all human languages [emphasis added]. [Sex] is a semantic universal which is lexicalized in all the languages of the world in terms of pairs such as man- woman , boy-girl , son-daughter and so on.” (Trudgill 2000:61) Semantics Terms • Semantic feature – a unit or component of meaning that is expressed by a word, e.g., girl comprises meaning units of human, female, and young. • Semantic universal – a unit of linguistic meaning that is shared (recognized) by all (or most of) the world’s languages, e.g. all languages recognize sex differences of male and female, so that male and female function as units of meaning that are reflected in or indicated by words. 6 9/23/2010 2 Morphology Branch of grammar concerned with the study of the structure of words and how words are formed (word formation) and inflected (inflection). • Inflection – marking words for semantic and grammatical categories through affixation. • Affixation – attaching word-forming elements to words (or word-stems, basic forms of words). 7 Kinds of Affixation • Prefixation – affix (word-forming element) attached to beginning of a word: un- + wise => unwise • Suffixation – word-forming element attached to end of word: wise + -ly => wisely • Infixation – word-forming element is put inside word, e.g. to intensify word’s meaning: absolutely + blooming => abso-blooming-lutely maa4 faan4 ‘troublesome’ + lan2 ‘vulgar term for male sex organ’ => maa4 lan2 faan4 ‘damn troublesome’ 8 9 How are Sex Differences Encoded in Language?...
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