ERIC Number: ED226600
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Nature and Possible Consequence of a "Female Register."
Rosenblum, Karen E.
Documented sex differences in speech and their significance are considered. The research literature on sex-differentiated speech reveals the influence of sex-role stereotypes and assumptions about the relation of speech to sex-differentiated socialization. The more substantiated differences form three clusters: (1) the production of esteemed variants, (2) the degree of dynamism in pitch and intonation, and (3) conversational dominance. The best documented is the claim that women are more likely to produce the socially-esteemed pronunciation and syntax. In addition, both pitch and intonation appear to distinguish male/female speech. Differentiation in conversational dominance is produced by overlap, interruption, verbosity, and the ability to introduce topics that are sustained by others. It has been assumed that differentiated socialization produced differentiated behavior, that speech differentiation was naturally a part of this process, and that utterances and behaviors were likely to be mutually consistent. By stressing the purposeful, intentional dimension of naturally occurring utterances, the three clusters of substantiated differences may be treated as accomplishing certain ends. It is suggested that each of these clusters pertains to the tenor of discourse, and that they collectively show the attempt to define interaction, capture an audience, and affirm relations of dominance. (Author/SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, CA, September, 1982).