A Sociolinguistic Analysis Of The Influence Of Gender On The Language Use Of 400 Level Students

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A Sociolinguistic Analysis Of The Influence Of Gender On The Language Use Of 400 Level Students


Abstract


The thrust of this study is a sociolinguistic analysis of the gender on language use. The method of investigation used for this study is questionnaire and audio-recoding. This study has established the fact that the differences between male and female in ways of interacting often leads to wrong notions, meanings and interpretations given to certain statements and gestures. It was also discovered that the differences between male female in the aspects of turn taking, use of minimal responses, use of questions, shift between topics, loud and aggressive arguments, often result in miscommunication and misinterpretation and when this happens, it leads to breakdown in communication.


Chapter One


Introduction

People have always known that gender and language use are connected. Women and men however, do not use completely different forms but different quantities or frequencies of form. Though both sexes use particular form, one sex shows greater preference for them than the other. Research shows that women tend to use more of standard forms than men do, while men use more of the vernacular forms than women do. Gender itself is an influential factor accounting for different speech patterns among men and women. Therefore, the major pre-occupation of this study is to examine the differences in the use of language between men and women and the influence of gender on the use of language. This study is aimed at bringing to limelight such factors that are responsible for differences in the use of language between men and women and by implication how gender interfere with language use.seeks to examine the differentiation between male and female use of language and how gender consideration influences speech patterns. This has to do with how gender influence interaction among sexes. To achieve this, data will be collected from 400 level students; forty (40) students (20 males and 20 females) were selected at random for this study from the Department of English and Literary Studies. 400 level students who I relate with daily are selected because it will be easier to collected data for this study. Participants will be interviewed and questionnaire issued out and data will be collected, discussed and analysed explicitly.


1.1 Background Of The Study

When we tell people about ourselves or our circumstances, or ask for information about others and their circumstances, we are using language in order to exchange facts or opinions. This use of language is often called ‘referential’, ‘propositional’ or ‘ideational’. Language is used by human beings in social context, communicating their need, ideas, and emotions to one another (Labov, 1981:83). Human language according to Sapir (1921) ‘is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols’. Language as Sapir rightly said is human. Only humans’ posses language and all normal human beings uniformly possess it. Animals also have a communication system but it is not a developed system. That is why language is said to be species specific and species -uniform.

Language gives shape to people’s thought; it guides and controls their entire activities. It is a carrier of civilization and culture as human thoughts and philosophy are conveyed from one generation to the other through the medium of language (Syal and Jindal, 2001:5). Ultimately, attitudes to language reflects attitude to the users and uses of the language. People generally do not hold opinions about language in a vacuum. They develop attitudes towards languages which reflects their view about those who speak the language, and contexts and functions with which they are associated (Holmes, 1996:344).


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