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Evidence for Masculinity Constraint: Fillers in Japanese

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Title: Evidence for Masculinity Constraint: Fillers in Japanese
Authors: れいのるず秋葉, かつえ
Reynolds, Katsue A.
Keywords: pause fillers
vowel fillers
demonstrative fillers
planned discourse
unplanned discourse
Issue Date: 1984
Citation: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Baltimore, Maryland, December 28 - 30
Abstract: The argument that female speakers are under the pressure of the "femininity constraint" has already been accepted by many linguists studying the relationship between language and gender. Women are in most societies expected to use "expressions that suggest triviality in subject matter and uncertainty about it" (R. Lakoff 1975). More recently, however, it has been suggested that men are also under a pressure--the "masculinity constraint" (J. Sattel 1983). This paper attempts to provide a piece of evidence for such constraint in Japanese. First, it presents examples of male and female uses of fillers--vowels identical with the vowels preceding the filler positions (e.g., ['oo] in [motto 'oo takai] 'more...ah...expensive...'--while females in similar situations use {ano(o)}. Then, I will argue on the basis of the result of an experiment that vowel fillers are much less noticeable to the audience thatn [ano(o)]. Vowel fillers do not mae the speaker sound hesitant as much as [ano(o)] does. Thus, conclusions: The use of fillers is natural for human communication since in reality both sexes use fillers; the fact that male speakers choose less noticeable fillers, therefore, is nothing but an indication that male speakers are subject to a constraint wich is not applicable for females--the masculinity constraint "Don't show human weaknesses."
Description: One of the earliest studies of Japanese pause fillers.
Sponsor: The University of Hawaii Research & Training Revolving Fund.
Pages/Duration: 12 pages
Appears in Collections:Reynolds, Katsue A.

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