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Gender Influences on the Use of Mandarin Varieties in Taiwan

Fan, Ya-wen (2013) Gender Influences on the Use of Mandarin Varieties in Taiwan. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Gender plays an important role in language use. Many gender patterns in language have been found by linguists. For example, women tend to use more standard language than men, and women seem to be the ones who lead language change. Various theories have tried to explain these gender patterns, such as overt prestige vs. covert prestige of language, the linguistic market, density and multiplexity of networks, and so on. This paper applies these theories and explanations to the three Mandarin varieties in Taiwan: Standard Mandarin, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Taiwan-guoyu. These three Mandarin varieties have different social values in Taiwan. This paper examines the interaction between gender and the use of these three Mandarin varieties. To answer the research questions 1) what is people’s attitude toward a certain gender’s language use, and 2) what is the motivation of different genders’ language use, two hypotheses were formed. First, women will receive more negative responses than men when using the vernacular variety Taiwan-guoyu. Second, women need to use the more standard varieties, either Standard Mandarin or Taiwanese Mandarin, to have different types of advantages. This study was conducted with a mixed methodology—half quantitative and half qualitative. The quantitative data was collected through the matched-guise technique and was analyzed by the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) in SPSS, and the qualitative part was collected through interviews. The quantitative and qualitative data both support these two hypotheses. Women who use Taiwan-guoyu receive even more negative responses than men, and language use is a more important form of capital for women than for men because women need to use language to present their persona and to gain various types of advantages.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fan, Ya-wenyaf18@pitt.eduYAF18
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scott kiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberMortensen, David DRM31@pitt.eduDRM31
Date: 30 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 April 2013
Approval Date: 30 June 2013
Submission Date: 18 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 111
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: gender, language variation
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2013 16:06
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11


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