Socialization into gender roles: An analysis on the extent to which children's books perpetuate gender stereotypes pertaining to emotion
Author: Kenny Fong
Kenny Fong was born in Macau, but spent much of his formative years in Australia. He is currently studying for the Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics. He hopes to enrich himself further by working overseas sometime in the future.
There is no denying that emotions are central to our existence as human beings. Each and every one of us is capable of feeling and expressing emotions ranging from joy to sadness. Nonetheless, gender stereotypes related to the emotionality and the types of emotions expressed by men and women have persisted. Stereotypically, women are often perceived as being more emotional than men. Likewise, women are traditionally associated with emotions such as love, fear and shyness, in contrast to men who are often stereotypically linked with emotions such as anger and contempt.
These stereotypical beliefs about the emotional differences between men and women are the central focus of this paper. Specifically, this paper investigated the extent to which gender stereotypes are present in Australian children’s books. A sample of 30 children’s books shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) was examined to see if the amount and types of emotional language used by male and female characters reflected the stereotypes. This involved identifying and recording the number and type of words that were used to describe the emotion of all male and female characters in each book. Overall, it was found that the male and female characters featured in the books sampled did not reinforce the gender stereotypes on the emotionality of men and women.
Anime and the real world gendered use of sentence final particles across genres
Author: Lachlan Hollis
Lachlan Hollis is a second year student in Bachelor of Arts in Language and Linguistics, majoring in Japanese at Griffith’s Nathan Campus. In the future, Lachlan hopes to either pursue a career teaching English in Japan or a career in translation either in Australia or overseas.
Japanese is one of the world’s most analysed gendered languages. Within Japanese, the use of sentence final particles is an integral part of expressing subtle meaning and gender. In this paper, the use of sentence final particles in modern Japanese is investigated and modern conceptions of their gendered use are assessed.
This study used the cultural convention of anime, unique to Japan, to investigate whether the use of sentence final particles by the respective genders in animated media reflects how they are used in real life. It also questions whether the genre, and therefore the target audience of anime, affects the use of sentence final particles in the series. To do this the girls (shoujo) anime ‘Kimi ni Todoke’ and the boys (shounen) ‘Toradora’ are analysed with regard to sentence final particle use. The results ran counter to preconceived expectations of language use in both genres.
Fighting like a girls: Gendered language in superhero comics
Author: Rebecca Davis
This study focused on gendered language in comic books, specifically looking to see if there is a difference between the way male and female superheroes speak. Given the generally sexist nature of comic books, a hypothesis was formulated that looked to explore whether female superheroes would speak differently from their male counterparts to reflect the sexism in their appearances and narratives. A second hypothesis suggesting that the general public would use sexist language to describe superheroes was also formulated, and tested via a four-question survey.
A collection of 31 comics from two different superhero team titles was examined for gendered language, and was found to use little to no specifically gendered language for male or female superheroes.However, the second hypothesis found a trend in describing female superheroes for their looks rather than their powers or strengths.
Do you have any raisins? No? How about a date? An analysis of men and women's humour usage in online dating headlines
Author: Michelle McKenzie
The aim of this research was to examine humour usage by men and women in online dating headlines and whether sexual orientation impacted on such usage of humour. Whilst Wilbur and Campbell (2011) and Bressler, Martin and Balshine (2006) suggest that men are more inclined to produce humour and women are more inclined to be receptive to humour, the results of this study contradicted such claims. Furthermore, while Groom and Pennebaker (2005) propose that sexual orientation does not impact linguistic behaviours, this study found that sexual orientation appears to impact some linguistic behaviours, such as humour usage, amongst men and women in an online setting.
Data were gathered by analysing 448 individual's online dating headlines. The method of analysing the headlines was performed intuitively, and in order to distinguish humour and further explain my 'research assistant' and my own interpretation of individual’s humour, headlines were categorised into six groups: four groups being humour styles (affiliative, self- enhancing, aggressive, and self- defeating), together with an 'other' category and a 'non- existent’ humour' category. It was found that women use humour more than men in online dating headlines and that sexual orientation may in fact impact men and women's usage of humour in online dating headlines.
This study counteracts claims made by previous researchers on men and women's humour usage and impact of sexual orientation, and brings new ideas to the study of humour in an online setting.
The pragmatic act of soliciting information and its indication to topic-shift
Author: Marcela Tietz
Marcela Hodul is currently commencing her third year of a BA in Languages and Applied Linguistics at Griffith University, majoring in International English and Linguistics. Her enthusiasm for languages and cultures are due to her multilingual-cultural background (Slovak, Czech and German), but her greater interest lies in linguistics in order to expand her studies towards speech pathology.
The focus of this paper was to explore particular interactional features of the pragmatic act of soliciting information during an authentic conversation in order to project certain agendas and thus leading to indications of topic-shift. The paper analyses and displays some comparisons with literature that support the assertion that these topic-shift signals, through repetitive questioning for information and topic exhaustion, lead to failure of achieving intersubjectivity between the interlocutors. The most interesting feature observed during the two-way interaction was the downgrading of questions by repair and reformulation after encountering dispreferred responses.
Linguistic cues such as ‘yeah’, soft ‘no’ and ‘so’ as well as some prosodic features of soft voice, silences and responsive hesitancy display other important characteristics on interactional progression and its discontinuity. Finally, the prior indications are often followed, amongst others, by the pre-telling signal ‘guess what’ after achieving affiliation towards topic-shift. Due to a prior project, namely ‘Conversation Analysis Transcription’, the author of this paper was one of the interlocutors of the prior interaction that was recorded with her friend during a private conversation for the course ‘Language, Communication and Social Interaction’ in her third semester.
An analysis of the pragmatic functions of "swearing" in interpersonal talk
Author: Na Wang
Na Wang comes from China. She is currently in her third year of a Bachelor in Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, majoring in International English and Linguistics. She has always had an interest in the English language and Anglo culture through travelling to western countries and interacting with people.
In most societies, swearing has always been considered as rude and offensive language. Nevertheless, many people still frequently use swear words in their daily lives. Therefore, swear words must fulfil some kind of unique communicative function that other linguistic means cannot easily accomplish. As a result, swearing could show some positive effects based on different contexts. In my study, my goal is to investigate different types of pragmatic functions swear words are carrying out in everyday conversation according to different contexts. Mey (2001) states that pragmatics sees the meaning of a language as largely affected by the context in which it occurs. This paper will analyse five naturally occurring conversations that were recorded and transcribed using a Conversation Analysis (CA) transcription convention developed by Gail Jefferson.
The analysis has shown that the pragmatic functions of swearing in everyday talk are mainly to express emotions, verbal emphasis, group solidarity and aggression. These are the positive qualities of swearing which have explained why people often choose to swear. However, due to the data limitation, it does not cover every aspect of swearing, therefore, I do not suggest this study as a complete guide on how people use swear words in everyday conversation. Further studies will be needed.
Griffith Working Papers Editorial Team
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).