1. Introduction 1
2.1 Phonology 2
2.1.1 Pronunciation 2
2.1.2 Pitch 3
2.1.3 Intonation 3
2. 2. Lexical level 4
2.2.1 Extravagant adjectives 4
2.2.2 Intensifiers 5
2.2.3 Polite words 6
2.2.4 Diminutives 7
2.3 Syntax level 8
2.3.1 Tag questions 8
2.3.2 Hedges 9
2.4 The causes of female language features 10
2.4.1 Psychological characteristics 11
2.4.2 Social division of labor 11
3. Conclusion 12
Works Cited 14
A Tentative Study of Female Language Features
---- Based on Modern Family1. IntroductionLanguage is one of the most important and frequent communication tools for human being. It, like air, permeates every aspect of our life. If we look at language from a sociological perspective, we are primarily interested in the various activities in which people use language to interact. It is an obvious fact that people who claim to be speakers of the same language do not speak the language in the same manner. So we can find that the language used by men and women have some special features of their own. The relation between gender and language have become a popular topic for sociolinguistics（Dai, 2010: 114）.
As early as in 1922, in the book Language, Otto Jespersen specially established a chapter------The Women, discussing the differences of language between men and women. Until the 1960s, along with US women's liberation movement, the study of gender differences of language gradually got attention from linguistics. Since the 1970s, a number of well-known scholars such as Lakoff and Trugill ¹ promoted this study still further, creating a systematic study of female language. Many researchers have come to almost the same conclusion that women have their own language style. The breakthrough of the study on language and gender began in 1975 with the publication of "Language and Women’s Place" of Robin Lakoff. Lakoff is a linguistic professor who is widely considered as the founder of the language and gender study. Other linguists also conducted more exhaustive discussions and researches about the differences of male and female language from the perspectives of gender discrimination as well as social roots. Based on sociology, psychology, anthropology and other disciplines, the study of female language has become a cross-disciplinary field. Researchers employ different research methods to reveal the relationships of language and gender from multiple perspectives.
This thesis will do the linguistic analysis based on the TV drama, Modern Family (season 6). Modern Family mainly tells the life of three different types of families which have close relationship with each other. It is easy to find a large number of conversations which takes place in various places and occasions, such as home, office, restaurants and so on. This thesis mainly chooses two groups of families. One group is a traditional American middle class family with three children. The husband and wife are Phill(male) and Clare(female) and the three children are Haley(female), Alex(female) and Luke(male). The other group is a May-December marriage family and the husband and wife are Jay(male) and Gloria(female). In other words, the study of female language based on US drama "Modern Family" can reflect the real conversations and background of contemporary American society.
This thesis firstly illustrates the features of female language from the verbal level, including phonology, vocabulary and syntax. It not only aims to study the characteristics of female language, them also aiming to find the reasons why differences exist in language in order to reduce the misunderstandings of gender communication finally and improve the relationship of men and women.
2. 1 Phonology
Phonology is concerned with the systematic organization of sounds in languages. It aims to discover how speech sounds in a language form patterns and how these sounds are used to convey meaning in linguistic communication. In phonology, the features of female language are mainly present in pronunciation, pitch and intonation.
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