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Title: The speech of men and women in contemporary French : the function of parenthetical remarks and the pragmatic particles c'est-a-dire, enfin, hein and quoi
Author: Beeching, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0001 3453 6944
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis sets out to test Lakoff's (1975) hypothesis that women's speech is more polite or tentative than men's through a detailed analysis of the usage, in a sample of contemporary spoken French, of parenthetical remarks (PRs) and the pragmatic particles (PPs) c'est-a-dire, enfin, hein and quoi. PRs and PPs serve both the repair requirements and the social interactional 'face-work' which are characteristic of spontaneous speech. Qualitative and quantitative investigations were conducted on the seventeen-hour corpus of orthographically-transcribed spontaneous speech. The aim of the qualitative analysis was to evaluate the contextual factors which may motivate the use of PRs and PPs. The quantitative analysis, by contrast, set out to measure the distributional frequencies of their usage according to the sex, age and educational background of the speakers. Whilst the detailed exploration of contingent factors such as the social roles adopted by the speakers demonstrates the value of a qualitative account, the fact that it is possible to make generalisable or falsifiable pronouncements on the basis of results found to be statistically significant in the data legitimises the adoption of a quantitative account. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses presume a prior sub-categorisation of the pragmatic usages of the linguistic item under investigation. The thesis arrives at the conclusion that, if men's and women's usage of PRs and PPs differs in the corpus, the asymmetry lies not in the degree of tentativeness displayed but rather in the use made of such expressions to introduce explanatory ramification and to mediate repair, both of which are favoured to a greater extent by the male speakers in our corpus. If the female speakers display greater politeness, it lies in their more adroit usage of the PPs to structure discourse and to maintain contact with their interlocutor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Language