Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective


Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective

edited by Susan U. Philips, Susan Steele, and Christine Tanz

(Studies in the social and cultural foundations of language, no. 4)

Cambridge University Press, 1987

  • : hbk
  • : pbk


Language, gender, & sex in comparative perspective

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 105



Includes bibliographical references (p. 297-322) and index



Most studies of gender differences in language use have been undertaken from exclusively either a sociocultural or a biological perspective. By contrast, this innovative volume places the analysis of language and gender in the context of a biocultural framework, examining both cultural and biological sources of gender differences in language, as well as the interaction between them. The first two parts of the volume on cultural variation in gender-differentiated language use, comparing Western English-speaking societies with societies elsewhere in the world. The essays are distinguished by an emphasis on the syntax, rather than style or strategy, of gender-differentiated forms of discourse but also often carry out the same forms differently through different choices of language form. These gender differences are shown to be socially organized, although the essays in Part I also raise the possibility that some cross-cultural similarities in the ways males and females differentially use language may be related to sex-based differences in physical and emotional makeup. Part III examines the relationship between language and the brain and shows that although there are differences between the ways males and females process language in the brain, these do not yield any differences in linguistic competence or language use. Taken as a whole, the essays reveal a great diversity in the cultural construction of gender through language and explicity show that while there is some evidence of the influence of biologically based sex differences on the language of women and men, the influence of culture is far greater, and gender differences in language use are better accounted for in terms of culture than in terms of biology. The collection will appeal widely to anthropologists, psychologists, linguists, and other concerned with the understanding of gender roles.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: the interaction of social and biological processes in women's and men's speech Susan U. Philips
  • Part I. Women's and Men's Speech in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Introduction Susan U. Philips
  • 1. The womanly woman: manipulation of stereotypical and nonstereotypical features of Japanese female speech Janet S. Shibamoto
  • 2. The impact of stratification and socialization on men's and women's speech in Western Samoa Elinor Ochs
  • 3. The interaction of variable syntax and discourse structure in women's and men's speech Susan U. Philips and Anne Reynolds
  • 4. A diversity of voices: men's and women's speech in ethnographic perspective Joel Sherzer
  • 5. Women's speech in modern Mexicano Jane H. Hill
  • Part II. Gender Differences in the Language of Children: Introduction Christine Tanz
  • 6. Preschool boys' and girls' language use in pretend play Jacqueline Sachs
  • 7. Sex differences in parent-child interaction Jean Berko Gleason
  • 8. Children's arguing Marjorie Harness Goodwin and Charles Goodwin
  • 9. Do different worlds mean different words?: an example from Papua New Guinea Bambi B. Schieffelin
  • Part III. Sex Differences in Language and the Brain: Introduction Susan Steele
  • 10. Cerebral organization and sex: interesting but complex Walter F. McKeever
  • 11. Sex differences in the patterns of scalp-recorded electrophysiological activity in infancy: possible implications for language development David W. Shucard, Janet L. Shucard and David G. Thomas
  • References
  • Index.

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