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Gender Differences and Inequality Essay example

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Tanaka’s paper aimed at discussing the issue of gender difference and possible inequality in the context of Japanese language under formal setting (Tanaka 2009). The objective of this essay is to find out whether Japanese language had changed over time on the aspect of different language strategies and methods adopted by different genders. Firstly, statistics of allocation of talks and times of interruptions were gathered from ten formal television interviews for both guest and host of different genders. The statistics showed a surprising result as females are reported to be more assertive and using less unfinished utterance than males. Tanaka then chose two similar programs out of the tens and did an in depth analyse. She detailedly examined the language and sorted them into aggressive or cooperative style. This was tricky as language is complicated and Tanaka carefully explained the context of different conversations and the language strategy adopted by the speakers. According to Tanaka, language styles change with not only the interlocutor’s gender, but also their relation and the status and age difference. Therefore, the result showed that percentage of using aggressive and cooperative language does not really differ a lot with gender. Tanaka thus concluded that gender is but one of the many elements that influence one’s communication strategy and suggested further research on conversation between people with power asymmetry.

Language gives an important peek for out-siders to understand the culture within a society, therefore Tanaka’s topic choose was appropriate and relevant. This paper will be a useful reference for one doing research on the gender discrimination in Japanese language, but might not be qualified to be used a...


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... wives should stay inside the house and being in the inner depth, while husband “Shujin” can also mean master or lord. Undoubtedly there are still other examples that show discrimination toward women and project the socially expected gender roles in Japanese language. Nevertheless, just like English, with the feminist movement, the growing awareness of using politically correct language is believed to bring positive influence in the Japanese society on the topic of gender equality. After all, just as what Tanaka stated, communicative strategies are multi-functional and pragmatic, therefore language changes and evolves over time. As a result, the value of the society will be influenced as well, since language and society counter-influence each other. Hopefully, this circle will have the capacity to lead Japanese society to a more equal society in the near future.






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