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A general process model of the gender-linked language effect: Antecedents for and consequences of language used by men and women
Unformatted Document Text:  General Process Model of the GLLE 16 for prototypicality. Male features that may be prototypical are: references to quantity, judgmental adjectives, elliptical sentences, directives, locatives, and “I” references. Potentially prototypical female features are: intensive adverbs, references to emotion, dependent clauses, sentence initial adverbials, mean length of sentences, uncertainty verbs, oppositions, negations, and questions. On the other hand, some linguistic features have produced mixed results across studies, although the results have favored women slightly: personal pronouns, tag questions, hedges, fillers, progressive verbs, and justifiers. These may be peripheral constituents, apparently in the female cluster (Mulac et al., 2001). Although several gender-biased linguistic features have been uncovered for both men and women in the US and Britain, it is likely that there are others still unknown. Some of these may deviate from the traditional semantic and syntactic categories used in the previous research, an intriguing and challenging possibility. Also, as with other linguistic phenomena, it is likely that the current discriminating features will change over time, as suggested above. Perhaps the ability to distinguish men and women linguistically will disappear as (or if) society moves toward gender egalitarianism and androgyny. Speculatively, the male and female clusters may be organized as networks (Aitchison, 1994; Bem, 1985), with prototypical linguistic features constituting centrally positioned nodes that are easily activated and that have many connections with other linguistic features in the network. Peripheral features, on the other hand, may be less easily activated and may have relatively few connections with other features. Activation of a central node may increase the probability that several relatively peripheral linguistic features will be activated—a “linguistic cascade” effect, but activation of peripheral features may activate few or no other members of the network. This notion of networks for gender-linked language could be tested in a number of ways, but a main point would be to see whether the occurrence of ostensibly prototypical male

Authors: Mulac, Anthony., Bradac, James. and Palomares, Nicholas.
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General Process Model of the GLLE
16
for prototypicality. Male features that may be prototypical are: references to quantity, judgmental
adjectives, elliptical sentences, directives, locatives, and “I” references. Potentially prototypical
female features are: intensive adverbs, references to emotion, dependent clauses, sentence initial
adverbials, mean length of sentences, uncertainty verbs, oppositions, negations, and questions.
On the other hand, some linguistic features have produced mixed results across studies, although
the results have favored women slightly: personal pronouns, tag questions, hedges, fillers,
progressive verbs, and justifiers. These may be peripheral constituents, apparently in the female
cluster (Mulac et al., 2001). Although several gender-biased linguistic features have been
uncovered for both men and women in the US and Britain, it is likely that there are others still
unknown. Some of these may deviate from the traditional semantic and syntactic categories used
in the previous research, an intriguing and challenging possibility. Also, as with other linguistic
phenomena, it is likely that the current discriminating features will change over time, as
suggested above. Perhaps the ability to distinguish men and women linguistically will disappear
as (or if) society moves toward gender egalitarianism and androgyny.
Speculatively, the male and female clusters may be organized as networks (Aitchison,
1994; Bem, 1985), with prototypical linguistic features constituting centrally positioned nodes
that are easily activated and that have many connections with other linguistic features in the
network. Peripheral features, on the other hand, may be less easily activated and may have
relatively few connections with other features. Activation of a central node may increase the
probability that several relatively peripheral linguistic features will be activated—a “linguistic
cascade” effect, but activation of peripheral features may activate few or no other members of
the network. This notion of networks for gender-linked language could be tested in a number of
ways, but a main point would be to see whether the occurrence of ostensibly prototypical male


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