It's Not What You Say...
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It is likely that the language you use with friends over coffee is different from how you talk with colleagues in the office. But have you ever wondered what the things you choose to talk about, as well as the way you speak, reveal about you? Do you use language to show your feminine side or demonstrate your capability at work?
Academics at Goldsmiths, University of London are researching if women and men speak differently, and, if so, in what way. Do men really not gossip and do women really talk more then men? How do women and men use language to present their identities when they interact with others? In what ways does a speaker’s ethnicity, social background, age or sexuality interact with their gender?
This research forms the basis of a new course on 'Language and Gender', part of the BA English offered through the University of London International Programmes, with academic direction by Goldsmiths.
Dr Pia Pichler, author of Talking Young Femininities, is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths. Dr Pichler has conducted research on the talk that several groups of girls recorded themselves when spending time with their friends. The girls, from a range of different backgrounds, spoke about similar topics such as friends, parents, music, school, boys and sex. But how they approached these topics varied greatly. This ‘girl-talk’ of teenagers as well as other research on adult speakers reveals how, as individuals, we use language to position ourselves in different ways in friendship groups or in the workplace.
'Language and Gender' is one of a number of new courses, including 'Introduction to Creative Writing' and 'Language and the Media', offered as options for the BA English, which is being revamped for 2012.