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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 19. 2nd August 1973

Not to be taken seriously

Not to be taken seriously

And it is a well-known fact that in our society any person who cannot state his views forcefully is unlikely to be taken seriously. The person who uses forceful language and extreme, unqualified assertions is likely to 'be paid more attention than the person who, in the interests of fairness and truth, qualifies his statements and points out that there are several points of view to be considered. This is the psychology underlying all propaganda and advertising after all.

In many languages the language used by women Is morphologically different from the men's language; and in some cases the women's forms are also the polite forms for the society as a whole. In Japanese and Korean, for example, Martin says "there is a tendency for man to discriminate different situations calling for honorific [implying respect — Ed] usage, for women to use honorifics all the time." In Koasati, an American Indian language, He as reports that the women's speech forms are more archaic than the mens. But at present only older women use them. Young women are beginning to use the men's forms.

What evidence is there from social dialect research that differences do exist within English between the speech of men and women? In a special dialect survey of speech in New York city in 1956 and another in Detroit in 1967 it was found that women, especially in the upper middle class and lower middle class groups, showed greater 'sensitivity' or awareness of socially stigmatised speech forms than the men in these groups. In other words women used fewer of the speech forms associated with slovenly or unprestigious or lower social class speech.