Gender Influence On Gender And Language

1287 Words6 Pages
Does our gender affect our language use?
If so, how and why?

Begmyrat Gurbansahedov

Teacher: Ahsen Hande Mısırlıoğlu
Sociolinguistics İNÖ 352-B

Anadolu University, Faculty of Education,
ELT Department

Before we start to talk about gender, it will be useful to be understood the distinction between gender and sex since these terms can be used interchangeably in many context. Despite their same meanings in most contexts, they have quite different meanings when we talk about social aspects of language. To some scholars sex means as simple as being born male or female, which affect how we experience and act later on in this world. In this view, to some extent, sex related to gender but they are not the same things.
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Consider how man and women seen by society under the same working conditions. Or think about the way in which occasionally women are addressed as a “girl” in public speech (such as, “We have a new girl at the office”) while men are not referred to as “boy” in similar context. This seems related to Wittgenstein’s claim which he says: “The limits of one’s language are the limits of one’s world”, which suggests that how we use language reveals our experiences and cannot be beyond our experiences. However, researchers do not quite agree with this claim. Because there are evidences that without having the word for explaining our feelings, we can experience it. An example of this, in 19th century woman have experienced “domestic abuse” before such a term existed (Allyson Jule, 2008). So in this case the experience is the contributing factor of the creation of a term, which is opposite of Wittgenstein’s claim. Even though some of the claims don’t agree with each other, we will see that the way we speak tells so much about who we are as a person as…show more content…
And we owe a lot for all these happenings to Feminist movements which made the gender distinctions less important. The terms such as “policeman”, “firemen”, and “chairmen” etc, are changing into “police officer”, “fire fighter”, and “chair person” etc (Ronald Wardhaugh, 2006). Here we cannot simply make an assumption and say that men are/were self-centered since all the work is done by men in those jobs I mentioned above. All these changes arise from the needs where both genders took part in the jobs these days.

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Holmes, J. & Meyerhoff, M. (2005). The Handbook of Language and Gender. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Jule, A. (2008). A Begginer's Guide to Language and Gender. Toronto: MM Textbooks.
Wardhaugh, R. (2006). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Wittgenstein, L. (2010). The Ethnics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche. Retrieved on December 26, 2014 from
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