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196 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) areal spread were concerned, but with the middle and older age groups resembling each other more and the younger group less where dialect features had a wider areal spread. H is as clear and careful in stating the limitations of his study as he is in noting the potential import ofhis findings, especially the theoretical import. His investigation demonstrates how difficult it is to design an irreproachable sociolinguistic study, but it also offers an excellent demonstration of how to take the first valuable steps toward such studies. [Nancy C. Dorian, Bryn Mawr College.] Language and masculinity. Ed. by Sally Johnson and Ulrike Meinhof. Oxford & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1997. Pp. x, 244. The essays in this book are largely ethnographic rather than empirical; many of them, often intuitive and anecdotal, draw upon the emerging disciplines ofcultural criticism. Johnson's own 'Theorizing language and masculinity' traces the history of 'feminist linguistics' (9), beginning with Robin Lakoffs 1975 Language and woman 's place (New York: Harper & Row). J argues that traditional linguistics, even sociolinguistics , has treated male language as normative while studies of women's language treat their topic as a special problem. J also objects to the oversimplification of the male/female dichotomy, arguing that since gender is acted rather than fixed permanently, individuals may choose from many complex and differentiated identities. The remainder of the book largely focuses on the construction of masculinity. Deborah Cameron's 'Performing gender identity' examines conversation topics men use to construct their own gender identity (women, drinking, sports, gays) although Cameron also takes a 'postmodernist' perspective which argues that gender does not itself presuppose a set of linguistic features or behaviors as much as those very behaviors are used to construct gender itself. A closely related paper by J and Frank Finlay analyzes a television football talk show to answer the question 'Do men gossip?' While the answer is affirmative , the authors point out a fundamental difference on this program, that the sports gossip recorded here is devoid oftheconcerns for personal lives often expressed by women. A more explicitly poststructuralist approach to the construction of masculinity appears in Mary Talbot's examination of tabloid newspapers while another treatment of masculinity construction appears in John Heywood's examination of an underground gay magazine. Also on the topic of identity, Meinhofs own chapter analyzes texts written by men and women to conclude that the 'difficulties and ambivalences ofeveryday existence' (28) can be comfortably narrated and shared by women but not by men. Three papers examine male interaction. Scott Fabius Kiesling's 'Power and the language of men' examines the way fraternity members assert their power in conversations. Recent pledges, of course, are deferential, using features like hedges more often associated with women's speech. Older members assert their authority but use different strategies appropriate to their personal styles: Some use imperatives; some act paternal by identifying a younger member as 'thekid'; others use taboo language ('sofuck 'em') (78) to assert their contempt for authority. Kiesling's discourse chunks, moreover, appear to support a similar assertion in Jennifer Coates's 'The organization of men's talk'. While in her other work Coates has discovered that women's conversation is often 'collaborative ', with a shared floor and much utterance overlap, the difference here in even the most intimate talk between men is striking, with little overlap and almost universal one-turn-at-a-time structures in which each participant can play the expert. Another study of men's interactions is Roger Hewlitt's examination of cooperation and competition in an adolescent boys' game. Here verbal strategies emerge which seek to create a balance between individual initiative and sufficient cooperation to maintain the integrity of the system. Since all but two of the papers describe AngloAmerican culture, the two treating Spanish data are especially welcome. JoAnne Neff van Aertselaer examines a Spanish Socialist Party comic book and concludes that, while the party seeks to project a progressive image, 'verbal and non-verbal images reinforce the stereotyping of the sexes' (167). Jos Pojular i Cos examines Spanish-Catalan code switching among two groups of working-class Barcelona young people. While he finds a straightforward connection between...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 196
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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