Robin Lakoff devised a theory of language and gender differences. She believed that women had a greater lexis when describing subjects such as colours where men would have a greater lexis in subjects such as sports. Lakoff also believed that women use more prestige grammar and clear pronunciation with more intensifiers than men. Therefore I have chosen to see whether these patterns occur within boys and girls aged 7-8 to see if they have developed these attributes even at an early age.
The audience I feel that would be appropriate to my research are people who work with or study children, A level or university students and people with a general interest of this topic. This is because by working with children you will be keen to pick up new information to help you with your work so you may find some here and an A level student taking English language may look at this for an example.
By observing the speech of childrens language I will be able to decide whether there is a difference in gender. People are influenced throughout their lives; they are influenced by things such as their environment, media and social groups. At an early age children are looking towards their families and peers to see how they should act. This shows children are aware upon how to communicate with others, therefore leading the possibility that even at a young age they have the same traits as an adult.
The research question I have concluded with is, are language and gender differences apparent within children ages 7-8 as there are in adults? Robin Lakoff stated that there are differences in spoken language between men and women so I have decided to see if children still have these differences. The reason for this is because at such an early age every child is thought of the same and it is hard to see a dominate gender; this was a key issue with early studies of men and women. Robin Lakoff also said women use hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation but since the children are only 7-8 years old they are still learning basic English skills. This means that this point will not apply here since the children are young.
I have chosen this topic area because I was not aware that there was a gender difference in language until I was taught it. I have taken a interest in this because men and women are both educated in the same way and thought to be brought up the same so I believed that they would have the same attitude in language. Another reason I have chosen this is because women are seen as the less dominate gender but when I was a child I was not aware of this so I am interested to see if there are signs of this even at such a young age.
I expect to find that even at an early age the boys will interrupt more as they tend to be very energetic whereas the girls will be more descriptive in describing an object.
When studying English language I found out that there was gender differences within speech, this took my interest as I believe that women now are equal to men. I felt that some of these differences maybe because of the language men and women use. When researching this topic I found out that Robin Lakoff devised a theory that there are differences between the language of men and women and how males are more dominant speakers than females. This is because females are believed to be less assertive and tend not to interrupt during conversation like men do.
This could branch onto discrimination as this a topic seen throughout life and it may give reasons to why females are discriminated more than males since they are not seen as the dominate gender. Another reason why I am doing this because I am interested how we develop our skills when we are young, why we develop them and who influences us on the language we use. I think the way we brought up and the language we are taught to use plays a big role in our society because I feel that each person uses their own distinctive language from each one and another, this is because I could tell a friend from another purely because of the vocabulary and dialect the person uses.
Therefore I wanted to look to see if this still applies to boys and girls at a young age where they are seen to be innocent and they would not pick up on these differences. I will do this by talking to children ages 7-8 the same questions and taking down their response. The problem that may arise with this is that some children are more confident than others; this means they will not be as shy with their response as another child would.