LING 407/507: Language and Gender
Instructor: G. Tucker Childs
This course introduces students to the study of language and gender, an interaction that has received increasing attention from linguists since the 1960s. Although the term "gender" has a technical meaning in linguistics, we will use it in its more widespread sense to talk about the socially constructed roles having to do with sex. The field is vast and the literature extensive; part of the class will be devoted to exploring the literature critically. The focus will be on the linguistic side but with broad consideration of social issues associated with the distribution of linguistic forms, for the study of language has indeed expanded and now involves considerable overlap with other traditional fields of study such as Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology, but also newer ones such as Women's Studies.
Due to the nature of the course as a "Senior Seminar" students are expected to make significant contributions to the class in terms of classroom discussion but also in terms of deciding the nature and direction of the course. It is assumed, of course, that all students will have some background in linguistics and some advanced standing in the major.
As part of the course students will be expected to analyze a small stretch of discourse, likely an interaction between two or more subjects talking in a relatively informal way. This audio recording will form the basis of the class project, whose results will be presented at the end of the course and mounted as a class “publication” in electronic form. It will be made available according to the wishes of the class as a whole.
Prerequisites: LING 390
Major Assignments: Project presentations and Final Exam
- Romaine, Suzanne. 1999. Communicating Gender. Mahwa, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Cameron, Deborah. 1985. Feminism and Linguistic Theory. London: Macmillan Press.
- Cheshire, Jenny, and Peter Trudgill, eds. 1998. The Sociolinguistics Reader, vol. 2: Gender and Discourse. London, New York, Sydney, Auckland: Arnold.
- Coates, Jennifer. 1986. Women, Men and Language: A Sociolinguistic Account of Sex Differences in Language. London: Longman.
- Eckert, Penelope, and Sally McConnell-Ginet. 2003. Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. 1975. Language and Woman’s Place. New York: Harper and Row.
- Thorne, Barrie, Cheris Kramarae, and Nancy Henley, eds. 1983. Language, Gender and Society. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
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