Guide to Robin Lakoff, Gender Sociolinguistic

Ben Franks’
guide to
guide to
Professor Robin Lakoff, born 1942,
is known for her 1973 research on
gender sociolinguistics.
She later gained international acclaim by
publishing her findings which defined “ 10
ways” women differ in speech from men
in a book entitled, Language & Woman's
Lakoff: Findings 1973
Found that there were ten notable
ways where the speech of a woman
differs from that of a man.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
1. Hedges – Phrases such as
“sort of”, “kind of”, “seems
Lakoff: Findings 1973
2. Use of Empty Adjectives –
divine, adorable, gorgeous, etc.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
3. (Super-)Polite forms – “Would
you mind?”,
“if its not too much to ask”,
“is it okay if”
Lakoff: Findings 1973
4. Apologise more– Women have a
tendency to apologise more often,
i.e. “Sorry, but I think that”
Lakoff: Findings 1973
5. Speak Less Frequently–
In mixed-sex conversation,
females will likely speak less
than males.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
6. Avoid Coarse Language
or expletives – Women less
likely to swear or use “rude”
Lakoff: Findings 1973
7. Tag Questions – "You don't
mind eating this, do you?”
It is made up of an AUXILIARY
verb and a PRONOUN.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
8. Indirect Requests– “Aww, I
am really thirsty” – actually a
request for a drink.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
9. Hypercorrection– Women
were found to hypercorrect (overlycorrect) their grammar and use a
high prestige of pronunciation, with
very clear articulation.
Lakoff: Findings 1973
10. “Speak in Italics”– Women
placed emphasis on certain words,
particularly modifiers, such as very,
quite and so.
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