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Philology. Journalism

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Gender as one of the social factors and its impact on the politicians’ speech (Based on the interviews of Theresa May, the former British Prime Minister)

Lashkova Galina V., Saratov State University
Belonozhko Yuliya A., Saratov State University

Current research studies the concept of “gender” as one of the social factors that determine the choice of language means defi ned as more typical for female or male speech. The study focuses on the speech of Theresa May, the former British Prime Minister, the second female Prime Minister after M. Thatcher. The analysis of 10 interviews with male and female journalists is based on the classifi cations of masculine and feminine language means described in the studies of such linguists as R. Lakoff , a representative of feminist criticism of language, W. O’Barr and B. Atkins, who highlighted the infl uence of the speaker’s social status, D. Tannen, J. Holmes and D. Hyde. This study characterizes the features of T. May’s speech as masculine or feminine, depending on the communicative situation when the Prime Minister uses such markers as the 1st person pronouns, etiquette clichés, intensifi ers, modal verbs “must” and “can”, as well as the tendency to interrupt the interlocutor. T. May’s speech features both feminine and masculine traits, notably feminine ones are more frequent in interviews with female journalists, due to the discussion topics, while masculine indicators are more typical for her communication with male interviewers, whose questions were addressed to T. May as the leader of the state and concerned social and political life of the UK. The feminine traits in such a situation indicate emotionality and seeking for the support of the speaker’s opinion. They might be considered as factors weakening T. May’s status of an appropriate leader, especially when criticized by an interviewer.


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