LANGUAGE AS A SPEECH ACT IN THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER: AN ANALYSIS OF TWO SELECTED APPELLATIONS IN THE CHINESE LANGUAGE
Pages: 141-157 Published: 7 Oct 2019
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Abstract: This study examines the use of two respectful forms of appellation on women in the linguistic practice of the Chinese language. One is the male-gendered prefix Sir. and one is the kinship term Big Sister. Drawing on the theory of Speech Act and the theory of Doing Gender, the study analyzes the sociolinguistic meanings of these titles, the typology of women who were addressed to by these titles, and the gendered meanings that both are underlying and underpinning such appellational practice in the daily Chinese language usage. The study shows how these prefixes of appellation, when being used, convey the speakers' coded meaning of gender and underlying intention to frame the addressed women in a particularly gendered role and gendered pattern of social relations. This form of language use thus acts actively in the social construction of gender and gender norms.
Keywords: language, gender, speech act, social construction, china