Volume 9, Issue 6 (2019)                   LRR 2019, 9(6): 187-212 | Back to browse issues page

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Ebrahimi Z, Saberi K, Moradkhani S. Women’s Features of Speech Based on Lakoff’s Approach: The Effect of Age. LRR 2019; 9 (6) :187-212
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-2416-en.html
1- Razi University
2- Linguistics, Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Razi, Kermanshah
3- Department of English Language (teaching), Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Razi, Kermanshah
Abstract:   (8457 Views)
The present study, as a research in the field of language and gender, aimed at investigating the Persian spoken by women in Kermanshah city based on Lakoff’s dominance approach. Research in the field of language and gender began by Robin Lakoff (1973, 1975). She postulated that the language of women is different from men. According to her, women have a tendency to use the linguistic features that reflect and reinforce a subordinate role in society’s power structure. These linguistic features include "hedges", "indirect requests", "tag questions", "fillers", "and empty adjectives “and” up talk". She further suggested that women use "super polite forms" and have a "poorer sense of humor" than men. The purpose of this study was to investigate, describe and categorize the specific features in women’s speech. It further analyzed the impact of age on the frequency of using these speech features. The data of the present study were collected using questionnaires and interviews from 90 urban middle-class Persian-speaking women of Kermanshah in three different age groups with diploma or no academic degree. The authors of this study, in addition to examining the language of Kermanshahi women in line with Lakoff’s approach and explaining them based on "Freud's defense mechanism theory", succeeded to add several other features based on the science of psychology. These new and innovative speech features which were pointed out in the present study are: "childlike speech and tone", "stretched sounds", "histrionic language", "avoidant language", and "animism". The research findings were analyzed quantitatively using chi-square test, and qualitatively adopting the framework of Freud's defense mechanisms theory. The findings of the study demonstrate that age creates a significant difference in the frequency of using most of these speech features. Save for the two features of "rising tone in statements" and "tag questions", all the other features of Lakoff's approach and the features discovered by the researchers exist in women's speech, with different frequencies though, and can be generalizable to the population at large.
The table below presents both group of features of women’s language by Lakoff and the authors:
Features of the Persian language spoken women (Kermanshahi)
Features included in Lakoff's approach Features Discovered by Researchers
Hedging Childlike speech and tone
Color terms Stretched sound
Empty adjectives Avoidant language
Super polite forms Histrionic of choice
Weak quantifiers Animism 
Empathic stress  
Full-Text [PDF 344 kb]   (2281 Downloads)    
Article Type: Research Paper | Subject: Linguistics
Published: 2018/01/5

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