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TENTATIVE LANGUAGE IN MIXED-GENDER CONVERSATIONS OF JORDANIANS: THE INFLUENCE OF GENDER AND SOCIAL STATUS
Corresponding Author(s) : Moh’d A. Al-Omari
Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews,
Vol. 8 No. 1 (2020): January
Purpose of Study: This paper evaluated the validity of self-categorization theory (Turner, 1987; Turner & Reynolds, 2011) in predicting the relationship between tentative language use and the prominent power of the speaker’s gender and social status in Jordanian society.
Methodology: Eighteen adult Jordanian dyads participated in dyadic conversations. Each dyad consisted of high-status females and low-status males. Before recording their mixed-gender conversations, dyad’s gender; status and national identity were primed one at a time using Palomares’ manipulation method (2004, 2008). One group of dyads read a passage about the patriarchal nature of Arab society, another dyadic group read a passage about the importance of education in obtaining high-level jobs, and a third group read a passage about Jordanians’ patriotism.
Results: Results showed that Jordanian high-status women tend to use more tentative language than Jordanian low-status men within and across the three primed contexts: gender-salient, status-salient and national- identity-salient contexts. Findings are inconsistent with the prediction of the self-categorization theory. The discrepancies between these findings and the outcomes of the Western research were ascribed to the patriarchic and gender-segregated nature of Jordanian society.
Implications: This paper concluded that sociolinguistic practices are not universal. Research on language and gender should take socio-cultural peculiarities into account to reach a comprehensive view of how social power is communicated through language.
Novelty/Originality of this study: This study emphasizes the role of socio-cultural practices in determining the relationship between speech style and the prominent power of the speaker's gender and social status. In Arab Jordanian society, tentative language is mainly gender-based language; less influenced by social identities other than gender.
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