Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Linguistics

Reader 1

Carmen Fought

Reader 2

Cindy Forster

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2015 Electra Chong

Abstract

Continuing from Eckert’s line of research, I aim to explore the social meaning of common features loaded with gendered ideology: uptalk, creaky voice, and tag questions to name a few (Eckert 2008). Some indexical properties of these features have been alluded to in a study by Ikuko Patricia Yuasa, who found in a match-guise test that many female users of creaky voice are perceived as “educated, urban-oriented and upwardly mobile” (2010). Yet these findings are divorced from the “interactional and stylistic ends” to which girls used these marked features that Eckert and McLemore identify, when in fact they should be in direct conversation.

In the process, I aim to make speech used by mainstream populations a conscious object of study, critically examining whether the features index a specific and exclusive construction of femininity that represents any sort of prestige in the specific setting of a women’s college. This entails studying not only who adopts these features and to what means, but who do not and what alternative patterns of speech they pursue instead. Thus, this project aims to elucidate the complicated choices that young women make in speech and the social meanings they convey in those choices.

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