Women and Tag Questions: Stereotypes of Inferiority 3 of 10


According to Lakoff (1975), women ,more often than men, add tag questions to their comments. This is a strange one because while this speech patten fosters collaboration and participation, it also leaves the listener wondering if the speaker is unsure of themselves.  Rather than simply stating a fact, a Lakoffian speaker will seek acceptance or corroboration of the accuracy of the statement.  But in a positive light, using tag questions shows respect to the listener, showing them that their opinion is valued.

3. Tag questions

Tag questions are questions that are added to the end of statements that are inclusionary, or that seek agreement or corroboration.

What she said in our meeting was rude, wasn’t it? You wouldn’t have said that, would you have?

Lakoff (1975) explored the concepts of locution and female discourse,  specifically how women’s choice of language differs from men’s.  Lakoff refers to many women’s perlocutionary communication patterns (Austin, 1962) as Women’s Language.  Lakoff describes ten elements of Women’s Language, the 1st of ten elements is Hedging, the second is Politeness.

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