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Male/Female Language – Is this an ESL Concern?

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Title: Male/Female Language – Is this an ESL Concern?
Authors: Goedjen, Devon
Advisor: Kellerman, Eric
Bley-Vroman, Robert
Keywords: english language in usa
gender roles
folk and language
education language
Issue Date: 1994
Abstract: Six areas of folk linguistic beliefs about male/female language - verbosity, politeness, expertness, swearing, prestige, and lexicon - were selected for this study. People have retained the same folk linguistic beliefs in these six areas for centuries; data from a 200-subject questionnaire and eight interviews are presented to answer the following questions: (1) Do American adults in the 1990's hold these same six folk linguistic beliefs about male/femde language? (2) Do variables of gender, age, or geographic location affect these beliefs? (3) Does the speech of American adults reflect these believed male/female differences? (4) Are there any implications for the ESL classroom? Subjects included equal numbers of males and females and young adults and senior citizens from the states of Washington and Hawaii. Results indicate that high percentages of Americans do hold these same folk linguistic beliefs; that gender, age, and geographic location do not influence these beliefs (according to chi-square tests), with two exceptions; and that "masculine"/"feminine" features reflecting these beliefs can be found in adult speech. The main purpose of this paper is to raise the consciousness of ESL teachers and administrators about the importance of the sex variable in language teaching and learning and to suggest applications for the ESL classroom.
Pages/Duration: 38 pages
Appears in Collections:Occasional Papers

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