Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 12 : 12 December 2012
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Managing Editor: Swarna Thirumalai, M.A.


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Copyright © 2012
M. S. Thirumalai

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Construction of Gendered Identities:
A Textual Analysis of
“Visit to a Small Planet” – a One-act Play

Muhammad Iqbal Butt, Ph.D.
Ghulam Abbas, M.Phil. Candidate


The purpose of this study is to investigate the long standing issue whether the linguistic features help us in construction of gendered identities or not. There are certain features which are believed to be typical of women’s speech and some other language features are associated with the speech of men e.g. the use of pronouns His / Her. Similarly, the linguists believe that women generally use ‘we’ whereas men mostly use the pronoun ‘I’. Furthermore, it is generally connoted that women’s language is powerless or women make excessive use of powerless features such as hedges, tag questions, pause fillers, speaking in italics, special lexicon, direct quotations, lack of sense of humor, question intonation in declarative context and many more. The researchers have tried to explore how far this claim is true or false.

A wide variety of researchers in their own ways have tried to prove the said issue. They have investigated various situations in different contexts to prove their findings. Despite a lot of research in this field nothing has been finalized and fixed. “Variety is the spice of life”, is a universal aspect of life. So is the case with men and women’s language. We find men and women using a large variety of languages in different conditions, situations, backgrounds, contexts, scenarios, and so on. How is it possible that after studying, analyzing and investigating fairly a small number of women or men in a remote corner of the world, the final result about the language of women or men can be deduced? It might be possible, if women are studied in a particular situation and background. Investigating a few women or men and declaring a general condition will be misleading and misguiding. Every social group, every class, every age, as well as each person’s status has its own priorities, thinking, and perception. If women and men differ in taste, temperament, mood, perception, color, creed, social status and so on, it is but natural that nothing can be finalized about their language.

Difference between Gender and Sex

According to Wharton (2005: 7) sex is only a biological factor with "distinguishable characteristics, which include chromosomal differences, external and internal sexual structures, hormonal productions and other psychological differences, and secondary sex characteristics". The biological aspects of sex for Delamont (1990: 7) involve ‘physiology, anatomy, genetics, and hormones’ whereas the non-biological aspects of gender are the differences between males and females like ‘clothes, interests, attitudes, behaviors and aptitudes’.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Muhammad Iqbal Butt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Government Zamindar Post-graduate College

Ghulam Abbas, M.Phil. Candidate
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Government Zamindar Post-graduate College

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