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On the culture-specificity of linguistic gender differences: The case of English and Russian apologies

Authors
  • Ogiermann, Eva1
  • 1 University of Oldenburg in Germany, Germany , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Intercultural Pragmatics
Publisher
De Gruyter Mouton
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2008
Volume
5
Issue
3
Pages
259–286
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/IPRG.2008.013
Source
De Gruyter
License
Yellow

Abstract

The present paper analyzes the influence of gender and culture on speech act performance. Although culture as a factor shaping gender roles can be regarded as being implicitly addressed by the growing number of speech act studies analyzing gender differences in various languages, results from such studies are difficult to compare. This study examines responses to offensive situations produced under identical contextual conditions by English and Russian women and men, thus ensuring comparability across groups and allowing for statements on the culture-specificity of linguistic gender differences. The first part of the paper offers a contrastive analysis of English and Russian responses to offensive situations, sketching some culture-specific differences in dealing with them. The second part is devoted to an investigation of gender-based differences in English and Russian, their comparison and interpretation. Apart from apology strategies and intensifying devices, the study also examines the use of downgrading strategies and the effect of strategy combinations on the illocutionary force of the responses.

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