Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 23:42:34 -0600


Subject: Re: Gender

I am writing a case study on the effect of gender stereotype and subconscious

perception on tutorial sessions in the Writing Center. This topic pertains

to sociolinguistics because the tutorial session is an interactive speech

event. Perceptions related to gender -- whether or not the be demeaning --

seem to be extremely salient. I would appreciate any information backing up

my hypothesis or in opposition to it.

Warm regards,

Dave Pass

If you're looking for an easy explanation, lotsa luck. On why I say this,

you might take a look at "Investigating Sex-Marked Language" in

_Language_Variation_ in_North_American_English_** (MLA, 1993), pp. 242-247.

The article isn't about exactly what you're looking for, but it

demonstrates that when males and females are asked to respond to language

use by the opposite or the same gender not much agreement emerges,

sometimes differences that inferential statistics suggest would be

substantially different over 99 times out of 100. So lots of negotiation

must accompany cross-gender communication sometimes. No easy answer. Some

would say it's in our genes and in our jeans, but that would be a cliche

that I would naturally avoid.

The article is by some guy with the same name as mine. Sometimes I think I

know him, other times I'm sure I don't, and sometimes I wish I'd never even

heard of him. Sometimes, though, he gets things right, mostly by accident.

** In case some of you have wondered about the tautology in the title of

this book, when Wayne Glowka and that other guy were beating the bushes for

articles, they had dreamed of getting articles on Chicano Spanish, Cajun

French, and Canadian French as well as on mundane English. They didn't get

'em, but they didn't think about the title till Joe Gibaldi at MLA pointed

out that the book was just about English, thus the tautologous accretion at

the last minute -- just because specialists in those interesting lects were

too busy with other things to submit articles for this important volume.

Has anybody not caught on to the fact that I'm shamelessly plugging this

book? It's about teaching about dialect. It's an ADS Centennial

publication, with 39 original articles. And Dennis Preston has a book on

research on language variation.