We social beings easily consider gender a biologically based sexual identity. A gamut of disciplines consider it more whole-person identity, personality, and behavior oriented than merely the sex facet. Anthropology, psychology, sociology, political geography, linguistics, stylistics, semantics, semiotics, and rhetoric in its power to persuade, approach gender as perfomative and identity marking processes.
Gender in those two senses encompasses a totality of individual persons and cohort groupings with which persons identify and project identity. Status, age, sex, ethnicity, lifestyle, sexual orientation, political, and religious marker identities combine to make up a whole person identity. Perfomative actions display gender identity. Performative in the special sense, "expression that serves to effect a transaction." [Webster's]
Gendered voice is not solely speech based. It is also a set of nonverbal aspects of behavior; perfomative displays, wealth markers for instance, pecking order demotion and promotion, and context dependent, setting time, place, and situation contexts, for example. Verbal intonation, facial expression, gestural language, and body positioning are also part of gendered voice.
Status building and emotional bonding activities make up the performative applications of identity, and gendered behavior and voice traits in general. A currently accepted axis of gender denotes masculine gender markers relate to status building activities, generally. Feminine gender markers relate to emotional bonding activities, generally.
Robin Lakoff authored the seminal and signal work on multicultural gender studies. Language and Woman's Place, 1975, Harper Row; revised and expanded edition, 2004, Oxford University Press. Extensive excerpts from the 2004 edition are available at Google Books for in-depth review.
Though Lakoff is an avowed feminist, a radical feminist only in the sense she questions and challenges preconceived chauvinistic notions of gender identity, the 2004 edition examines gender identity for a broad range of social subclasses, men and women, and subcultural groups, Black-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Caucasian-American, Gay men and women, academics and blue-collars and blue-bloods, and how identity factors overlap. The whole encompasses a set of social imprinting and indoctrinating cultural coding conventions and offers insights into decoding methods.
Gender is a subclass of language characteristics that are distinguishable but indivisible from the whole. Gender in the linguistic and sociologocial senses, grammatical sense in particular, patterns identity marking and performative behaviors. Dead languages like formal Latin rigidly pattern gender through marking status and sex. Living languages, Greek and Romance languages particularly, other Indo-European languages generally, also mark status and sex. English language evolution tends toward minimizing gender markers, yet a psychosocial need for identity validation and status and meaningful interpersonal relations preserves if not favors ongoing English language gender marking.
Feminine gendered voice generally tends toward building close-knit cohort units, while masculine gendered voice generally tends toward building competitive cohort units. Generalizing, men want status; women want emotional connections. There should be no wonder communication is generally difficult between men and women. We speak subtly different languages.
But it's not that simple, never was, cannot be. We social beings are as unique in our identities as our fingerprints and DNA, as were are unique in our sonic and gendered voices. Gendered voice is an infinite spectrum of possibilities derived from the competing pushmi-pullyas of desires pressing in and pressing out wanting satisfaction.
After all that deep background, here's a paraphrase of a brief summary purportedly of Lakoff's 1975 edition Language and Woman's Place from "Women's Language" at Changingminds.org. [**] Oversimplified feminine gendered voice samples, decorum methods for building connections, though including passive-aggressive feminine competition tendencies. Masculine gendered voice tends toward opposites: assertive, self-confident, contentious gender marking tendencies.
- Hedging language: Language with escape clauses, to avoid confrontation and disagreement, using hedging terms; for example, kind of, sort of, perhaps, I think, I guess, I feel, maybe, and so on.
You know, I kind of feel differently about Joey than Tilley does. Anyway, I guess maybe that's what he means to her.
- Extreme courtesy: Assuming a submissive, conciliatory, and/or nonthreatening attitude, tone, and register to avoid confrontation and disagreement.
If I can borrow a moment of your time, please, might I ask you to help put this heavy box away.
- Rhetorical questions: Questions posed for persuavive purposes not intended to be directly answered.
He might not understand women's needs, right? Though, if he doesn't, shouldn't we keep our secrets to ourselves?
- Interrogative declarations: Using a questioning intonation or syntax to make declarative statements. Spoken questioning intonation changes pitch as a sentence finishes.
I did't do as I was told to do, exactly as I did?
- Hyperbole: Exaggerated intonation and vebiage with emotional context, and using discretionary italics and other lexical emphases in writing for expressly marking intonation; exclamation points, ellipsis points, dashes, bold formating, discretionary capitalizations or all caps, underscoring, etc.
Lanney's such a Chunk! So dead weight--very, VERY meh...
- Empty descriptors, the much maligned adjective and adverb modifiers: Kind and wooly modifiers used to project friendliness.
Such a sweet and warm bachelor you are. You're sure to marry wonderfully.
- Nonsense discourse markers: Using prefatory and/or parenthetical interjections with little or no meaning to mark thought-gathering pauses and/or attract attention to what's said or written; for example, uh, uh-huh, huh-uh, well, like, you know, now, okay, and so on.
Now, I heard Cary, you know, said those mean things. Like, okay. You understand it wasn't me who said them.
- Prescriptive formalilty: The spoken (or written) equivalent to Standard Spoken and Written English's rigidly proper grammar, pronunciation, spelling, and punctuation rules, and rigorously avoiding idiom, slang, and informal dialect in order to avoid misunderstanding.
I am suggesting, though I admit my point wasn't clear, now is too soon a time to begin our debate or decision-making.
- Neutral tone: Limited sense of humor, limited joke telling, for avoiding humor's tendency to be at the expense of others' hurt feelings; avoiding schadenfreude, "enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others." [Webster's]
- Direct quotations: Tagged Direct Discourse quoting the discourse of others with written or implied quote marks, and direct quotations of others' quotations of others' discourse. Occasionally marking cites with quote-mark gestures when speaking.
Well, Pat, Marty said to me, "Bobby's a total moron." I said, "You know, she's not so dumb as you think." I think if you weren't as hard on Bobby as Marty is...
- Mommy talk: Inclusive personal pronoun usage we and our rather than excluding, autobiographical I or excluding, imperative you, singular or plural. Might be construed as negatively condescending in age-inappropriate contexts.
We need to clean our room and do our chores before we watch TV.
- Courtly irony: Cliquish passive-aggressive bonding through status building; in-group status building through outsider exclusion using shallow flattery and empty praise.
Daisy Mae works miracles with cheap Walmart makeup and knock-off costume jewelry.
- Extended vocabulary, Doll house decorator talk: Precise word choice and use, frequently with abundant descriptive modifiers. Feminine gender marking traits that love-love specific color words and favor similar detailed specificity.
Plant the fushcia azaleas beside the entrance walkway. I'll have the white silk valances and silk drapes for the sidelight window treatments with floral print accent colors picked up from the azaleas and chartreuse from the entranceway Morrocan floor tile foreground details and chocolate from the walnut door and baseboard trim's lighter grain figure.
Well, I haven't done any more than sketch a small surface of gendered voice. Although within the above are trail blazes for paths toward further insights.
Lakoff, Robin, et al, Language and Woman's Place, Oxford University Press, 2004.
http://books.google.com/books?id=7-NdKh ... &q&f=false
Webster's 11th Collegiate Edition.
** "Women's Language," Changingminds.org.
http://www.changingminds.org/explanatio ... nguage.htm