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For Bacon, the promise of science is expressed as ‘leading youto Nature with all her children to bind her to your service and makeher your slave’. (Keller 1996: 36.)

The first part will be devoted to an overview of scholarship in thefield of male-female speech.

As we can see, the main idea of Haslanger’s account is thatgender is a hierarchical social structure, where some members aresituated in a position of privilege and some other members aresituated in a position of subordination along social, economic,political, legal, or cultural dimensions, in virtue of their real orimagined biological role in reproduction. And more particularly, beinga woman corresponds to occupying a specific position of subordinationwith respect to this social structure, due to one’s perceived orimagined biologically female bodily features.


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(Martin 1954:58)Additional confirmation comes from self-evaluation studies.

While both results may be accounted for by the specific conditions of thestudy they give further support to the supposition that gender as wellas status need to be considered.


based on an ensuing silence of the first speaker)3.

At the sametime, sociolinguistics provided mechanisms for the scientific investigationof language variation on the basis of both socio-economic and gender factors.

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With respect to a number of sociolinguistic factors including gender thesestudies investigated linguistic features such as phonological variabilityof male and female differences.

How canthis variability be explained?

The goal, on the one hand, was to determinethe stratification of these variables and, on the other hand, to find supportfor a mechanism of synchronic change.

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In particular, studies by Martin (1954), the Norwich studiesby Trudgill (1972, 1978, 1998) and Portz (1982), and Fasold (1990) providedsupport for this position.

Scholars differ in their interpretation.

As Martin (1954) put it:

Women, it seems, are considerably more disposed than men toupgrade themselves into the middle-class and less likely to allocate themselvesto the working-class - a finding which confirms the common observationthat status consciousness is more pronounced among women.

This is reflected in fewer interruptions in cross-sexconversations.

Thepercentages of over-reporting by women and those of under-reporting bymen on the ()-variable in East Anglia, for instance, show a significantdifference.