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1.1 Background of the Study

 Linguistics is also concerned with various aspects of the representation of gender in language. One of the earliest linguists to examine gender ways of speaking was Dane Otto Jespersen whose analysis dates as far back as 1925, and serves as a useful starting point in the exploration of the study of gender speech and its ideologies. In his article “The woman” (1990),”women’s speech is clearly deficient of men’s”. The reason for this value judgment could be that there was no adequate record of situation to serve as basis of his result of pre-conceived stereotypes. Fifty years later, Robin Lakoff established a set of gender features that seems to be a confirmation of an existing power imbalance reflected in linguistic expression (Lakoff :2004). Although counting as one of the first – if not first – contribution to feminist linguistics, some of Jespersen’s sexist assumptions are carried over into her work. Even though Lakoff’s data does not originate in empirical research, but is based on observations and introspection, this does not necessarily reflect the reality of the fe(male) speech community. The lexical gender markers introduced by her lack accuracy and stand as mere stereotypes, possibly rooted in women socialized role from the past. She claims, for example, that women use weaker and almost sweet sounding swear words such as “oh---dear,” or “goodness”, whereas men use stronger expressions such as “shit”, or “damn (Braun 2004:13) In spite of the efforts and contributions worldwide of women, the old stereotypes that portray men as superior or domineering and women as passive or weaker vessels have continued to exist in today’s society. Despite men’s use of strong expressions as claimed by Lakoff in Braun (2004:13), women continued to strive to be equal with their male counterparts. In social circles, there is an underlying difference in the speech pattern of men and women. The men are assertive, interjecting with authority and humour, while the women on their own part are receptive and on defence. This has kept the old belief alive through generational transfer and associations. The representation of genders in fiction falls into the category of how genders express themselves or are being expressed. Spender (1990:93) addresses the issue of men being the ones who made the world which women must inhabit. Such restrictive language forces women into a system of personal expression that is not necessarily true of their nature and this has been addressed not only by linguists, but also literary critics. For example, as early as the first half of the 20th century the writer Virginia Woolf in Women and Fiction (Woolf, 1990), and The Angel in the House (Woolf,2004). In the above texts, Woolf addresses the struggle women writers experience because they are limited by the conventions of writing that has been created by the minds of men. Woolf felt that to write freely and according to their female nature, women have to learn to break out the role society expects of them. Hence, gender speech pattern is to a certain degree, confronted with the problem of an existing gender stereotypes and clichés in the society. Based on the dynamic approval and the concept of doing gender, styles of communication are classified as “masculine” or feminine”.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages65 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
Available documentPDF and MS-word format


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