Achkasov A.V., Barsova Ya.V. Gender Differences in Disagreement Strategies in Oral Academic Discouse

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.5.2

Andrei V. Achkasov

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Director, Institute of Foreign Languages, Head of the Translation Department, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

Reki Moyki Emb., 48, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7637-4960

Yana V. Barsova

Postgraduate Student, Department of English Philology, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

Reki Moyki Emb., 48, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8269-0695


Abstract. The research aims to identify the gender differences in expressing disagreement in oral academic discourse. Examples containing explicit and implicit ways of expressing disagreement are collected through reading a corpus of texts chosen from the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE), including speech genres of seminar, discussion, defense of the dissertation and colloquium. Our study confirmed previous observations that utterances of explicit unmitigated disagreement or criticism are generally not typical of the American academic environment. The research findings reveal that both men and women tend to express disagreement explicitly using basic mitigation strategies. Unmitigated utterances with straightforward disagreement are infrequent and used mainly by teachers, which is most likely due to the other sociolinguistic variables apart from gender, and in particular by the status of speakers in teacher-student situations. Contrary to previous claims, men prefer the tactics of down-toning, represented by language patterns with the meaning of problematic certainty and subjectivity, as well as the use of lexical hedges. Female teachers recurrently use particular ways of implementing the tactics of mitigating implicit expression of disagreement, which may be specific of their individual styles. The research confirms that the distribution of particular language patterns across speakers should be taken into account when studying the gender aspects of communication.

Key words: gender, gender linguistics, academic discourse, disagreement, corpus linguistics.

Citation. Achkasov A.V., Barsova Ya.V. Gender Differences in Disagreement Strategies in Oral Academic Discourse. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2020, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 14-24. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.5.2

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