Hedging in Women's Language: When Women use the Hedges You know and Kind of in Spoken Informal Language
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
This essay aims to investigate casual oral conversation between young women in an upper-class social group and how they make use of hedges in their everyday language. A hedge may be described as a means to express uncertainty and to mitigate force in an utterance. The material used is a reality television show, The Hills, whose purpose is to provide us with a setting close to reality. The topics that are being discussed and the intrigues that are linked to the female characters are very close to reality. Before this study could answer the question of which situations these women hedge in, it was essential to study the term hedge and decide what may characterize it. An analysis of the two expressions chosen, kind of and you know, made it possible to take the investigation further. It is found in this study that the two expressions need to be analyzed differently, with different bases for how to encounter a hedge. One aspect that was of interest in this study was to focus on social groups rather than gender differences and therefore the situations studied in this essay are threefold: women interacting with other women (equals), with men (equals) and with superiors, both males and females. Since both expressions needed to be analyzed separately, the results will differ, as well. However, looking at the overall result it does not show a striking difference of in what situations women hedge. Both kind of and you know are used most frequently when women interact with other women, nevertheless the differences are not significantly different from interactions with men and superiors. With both expressions it occurs that women hedge a little more in situations with superiors and little less in conversations with men from their own social group. However, considering statistical reliability no significant differences could be found in what situations women in this study hedge, this suggests that in this show the women do not find it necessary to hedge more with men or superiors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 22 p.
Languages and Literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40848OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-40848DiVA: diva2:326723
2010-05-31, Stockholms Universitet, Frescati, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)