About this issue
This issue has no specific theme, but there is an underlying focus on gender and the use of language. It includes the use of English within and between different language, cultural and gender groups, with a particular but not exclusive focus on native speakers of English.
The papers are based on original data collection and analysis. Many cover new and pertinent areas in linguistic research involving online sources, computer games and television programming. Some focus on areas which reflect a move away from conventional modes of interaction, in contrast to others exploring a return to more traditional gender roles.
Griffith Working Papers Editorial Team
Guest Editor: Ms Judith O'Byrne
Judith O'Byrne lectures at both the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University and at the Queensland University of Technology. Aside from her broad range of teaching areas in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, her main research area is English as a Second Language grammar.
Dr Michael Haugh
Michael Haugh is a Senior Lecturer convening the International English program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. His main research interests include pragmatics and intercultural communication. He has published work in the Journal of Pragmatics, Intercultural Pragmatics, Pragmatics, Multilingua, Journal of Politeness Research, and Discourse, and is co-editing a forthcoming bookFace, Communication and Social Interaction (Equinox), as well as editing a special issue on 'Intention in pragmatics' for Intercultural Pragmatics (2008).
Dr Susana Eisenchlas
Susana Eisenchlas is a Senior Lecturer convening the Linguistics program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Her Doctoral Dissertation was in the area of syntactic theory and first language acquisition. She also conducts research and publishes in the area of internationalisation of the curriculum and the teaching of intercultural communication from a linguistic perspective. She is co-editor of the book Australian Perspectives on Internationalising Education (2003).
“I’m a big manly man!” A study of embedded gender stereotypes in video games
Author: Kendal Quicke
Kendal is currently a second year student in the Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics program at Griffith University, majoring in Japanese and Linguistics. She is interested in second language teaching and Japanese culture and hopes to travel to Japan for work or further study in the future.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are embedded gender stereotypes in video games. Video games are growing in popularity and may be shaping consumers’ ideas of correct gender roles. A total of 200 samples of dialogue were examined for linguistic differences between male and female characters.A Lakoff’s (1973) theory that women have less power than men, resulting in linguistic differences in their speech, has been disproved by many studies (Carli 1990; Macaulay 1998; Hobbs 2002; Stapleton 2003; and Pretch 2008).
The results of this study however, showed clear differences between male and female speech, correlating strongly with Lakoff’s suggestion (1973). With the majority of U.S. households playing video games (Entertainment Software Association 2012), adults and children around the globe are being exposed to these unrealistic gender stereotypes.
That is so Feminine! An investigation of intensifiers as characteristics of female speech through the use of so and really in modern television programming
Author: Gabrielle Sharp
Gabrielle Sharp is an 18 year old Australian university student currently enrolled at Griffith University, Brisbane. She is in her second year of a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics program, majoring in Italian and Linguistics.
This paper investigates the use of intensifiers by males and females in recent episodes of the television show Gossip Girl. Data was collected from ten recent episodes of the show, aired from February to May 2012.
The use of the intensifiers so and really was recorded with the gender of both the speaker and the listener noted. The results showed that the female characters used significantly more intensifiers in total than did the males. They also showed that one male in particular used almost as many intensifiers as the female who used the most overall. The results of the data collection support the early findings given by authors such as Lakoff, Jespersen and Key, as well as the findings of the 1998 study by Aries on language features and their use by male and females.
This study proves that the intensifiers so and really are more commonly used by females than males and therefore that they are quite possibly a characteristic of female speech in modern television programming, although a larger data sample may be helpful in confirming this finding.
Taboo Words: The Use and Perception of the word cunt in British and American English
Author: Kathrin Lambertz
This paper is concerned with the use and perception of taboo words in different cultural backgrounds. Specifically, the aim of this research was to investigate how the word cunt is used and perceived in British and American English. The project focused on whether the word cunt is used in a derogatory or comical manner in the target countries and which words it occurs with.
The analysis focused on spoken discourse found in the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). Ethnographic interviews were designed to obtain a more specific picture about how American and British English speakers use and perceive the word. On the basis of this data, the key findings support the hypothesis that although American and British speakers of English use the word in the same manner, British speakers use it more frequently in a comical manner. Further research should investigate whether gender or age has an impact on the use of cunt.
Intercultural Identity through the Use of Lexis
Author: Hannah Wainwright
Hannah Wainwright is a second year British student from the University of Sheffield, UK, currently completing an exchange year at Griffith University. She is enrolled in a BA English Language with Linguistics program. She completed this report in conjunction with the requirements for the course, 3202LAL Intercultural English in an Age of Globalisation.
The aim of this research was to investigate the use of the word sick when it is used as a positive adjective. It aimed to discover whether this term can be used to help create a person’s identity within the British and American culture, and if so, what perceptions of the speaker may arise. There were three methods used to gather the data. These were corpus analysis, where the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English were used; analysis of the Online Slang Dictionary, a website with a collection of British, American and urban slang; and ethnographic data analysis, gathered in the form of two interviews, one with three British people, and the other with three Americans.
The Communication Theory of Identity is used in the discussion of the results, which showed that the use of the word sick as a positive adjective in American culture is accepted, and in general is not perceived either negatively or positively. It is not seen to be used by certain social groups, but is used throughout the younger aged society, and therefore rejects part of the theory that could suggest, when applied to this investigation, that the term is used to create identity. In British culture however, the term does carry perceptions which are often but not always negative, and the use of the term is significantly associated with certain social classes and social groups. In this case, the premise of the theory could apply.
An Analysis of Compliment Responses by Australian and Latina American Women
Author: Patricia Pinilla Murillo
Patricia Pinilla Murillo is currently at Griffith University in Brisbane, in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts in Languages, Culture and Sociology, majoring in International English. Patricia is from Colombia, where she studied Law and Communication. Her academic interests include Languages, Sociolinguistic and Intercultural Communication.
This study investigates compliments responses (CRs) by Australian and Latina American women in order to identify differences and similarities. It proposes that the CRs of women differ according to culture, the gender of the complimenter, power and distance. The Rapport Management Approach will also be considered in order to show the importance of the management of human relations and its effect in maintaining social stability. The data was collected through the use of a questionnaire, which covers basically three scenarios (ability, appearance and possessions). A total of 20 participants, ten Latina Americans and ten Australians, participated in the study.
The findings demonstrate that there are some similarities between these two cultures in regards to possessions, where both cultures accept the compliment and add a comment history. At the same time, both cultures used strategies to avoid self praise, especially when the complimenter was a male; it was also found that power is insignificant with an appearance compliment, using sarcasm and irony. However, there are some differences, especially when discussing a person’s cooking abilities; here the Latina American’s CR to this compliment stems from their culture and their pragmatic rules.
Gender and Emotional Expressiveness: An Analysis of Prosodic Features in Emotional Expression
Author: Roisin Parkins
Roisin Parkins is currently in her second year of a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics, majoring in Japanese Language and Linguistics. She has been interested in languages and cultures since she was a child and is hoping to travel to Japan to use her knowledge for both work and leisure.
Studies looking into emotional differences between men and women are plentiful. Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that women are more emotional than men, or at least are more emotionally expressive (Kring & Gordon 1998). This conventional wisdom has been supported by the results of many academic research papers indicating that women are indeed the more emotionally expressive of the genders (e.g. Ashmore & Del Boca 1979; Brody & Hall 2000; Johnson & Shulman 1988). The purpose of this paper is to examine the emotional expressivity of men and women in the realm of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Data was collected through the analysis of posts, tweets and comments from a sample of native Australian men and women and the implications of the findings from this data are discussed.
Perpetuating gendered identities: the “tween” magazine
Author: Kate Doyle
Kate is interested in the construction of identity, particularly the role the media plays in perpetuating gendered identities. As media consumers, children are exposed to stereotypes of masculinity and femininity that have the potential to influence how they understand themselves in relation to others: Email Kate Doyle.
This paper explores the linguistic constructions of femininity and masculinity as created and perpetuated in tween magazines. Current research identifies magazines as vehicles for reinforcing feminine and masculine stereotypes, with common themes of self improvement through fashion and physical beautification and emphasis on the achievement of physical attractiveness through product consumption.
Content analysis of tween magazines shows general support for the creation and perpetuation of feminine identities, with common themes of self improvement through fashion and physical beautification evident in magazines targeting girls. However, content analysis reveals no sexualising content within magazines targeting males and little evidence for the creation and promotion of hegemonic masculinities.
Findings from this study indicate that magazines offer limited options for progressive identity formation and that feminine and masculine identities have become connected to the appearance of the body.