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Original scientific paper

Shala Barczewska, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Department of History and Culture Studies, Institute of Foreign Languages, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce

Agata Andreasen, Department of History and Culture Studies, Institute of Foreign Languages, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce

https://doi.org/10.22210/suvlin.2018.086.02

ABSTRACT

Nearly half a century after Lakoff ’s controversial publication Language and a Woman’s Place(1975), 
the verdict is still out as to the exact relationship (if any) between language and gender (cf. Baker 
2014: 3, Cameron 2005). Th e proposed theories addressing the similarities and differences between 
male and female speech often focus on social and cultural influences that may cause a man or woman 
to act or speak in a certain way; for example, use more adjectives or a broader variety of adjectives. 
Moreover, they often use as their source materials anecdotes and personal data. As a result, the studies, and the papers they produce, are often influenced by researcher intuition (Baker 2014; Schmid 2003). Only within the last fifteen to twenty years has it really been possible to analyze large collections of spoken data to test this intuition. Nevertheless, even with the advent of computer–assisted data analysis, the results are ambiguous. Th e aim of our study is to analyze male and female use of 
adjectives in the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE). We compare the use of 
select basic adjectives (good,bad, big,small,pretty,ugly,important, and different) and their near synonyms in an attempt to support or call into question intuition–based claims that certain adjectives are more ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’, or that women use more and a greater variety of adjectives than 
men. This paper hopes to contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding gender differences and 
language.

 

KEYWORDS

use of adjectives; men’s speech; women’s speech; gender differences in language; MICASE

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