Main Article Content
This research article presents the results of the analysis of women’s language in Suzan-Lori Parks’s play Venus based on Robin Tolmach Lakoff’s summary of 9 characteristics of language use typical of, yet in no way exclusive to, female language users. The analysis reveals 7 characteristics perceived in the use of language by the play’s female protagonist, namely a large stock of words related to specific interests, the question intonation in declaratives, the use of hedges, hypercorrect grammar, superpolite forms, the inability to tell funny jokes, and strengthened utterances. The women’s language displayed in Venus reflects how language is produced and reproduced to stress the inherent inequality of power between man and woman as well as the social disparity experienced by those in marginalized social groups.
Cameron, D., McAlinden, F., & O’Leary, K. (1988). Lakoff in context: The social and linguistic functions of tag questions. In J. Coates & D. Cameron (Eds.), Women in their speech communities (pp. 74-93). London: Longman.
Eckert, P. (1990). The whole woman: Sex and gender differences in variation. Language Variation and Change, 1, 245-267.
Gaudio, R. P. (2004). The way we wish we were: Sexuality and class in Language and Woman’s Place. In M. Bucholtz (Ed.), Language and woman’s place: Text and commentaries (pp. 283-288). New York: Oxford University Press.
Hall, K. (2003). Exceptional speakers: Contested and problematized gender identities. In M. Meyerhoff & J. Holmes (Eds.), Handbook of language and gender (pp. 353-380). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Herring, S. C. (2003). Gender and power in online communication. In M. Meyerhoff & J. Holmes (Eds.), Handbook of language and gender (pp. 202-228). Oxford: Blackwell.
Holmes, J. (1982). The functions of tag questions. English Language Research Journal, 3, 40-65.
Holmes, J. (1995). Women, men and politeness. London: Longman.
Kiesling, S. F. (2001). Stances of whiteness and hegemony in fraternity men’s discourse. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 11, 101-115.
Lakoff, R. (1973). Language and woman’s place. Language in Society, 2(1), 45-80.
Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and woman’s place. New York: Harper & Row.
Lakoff, R. T. & Scherr, R. L. (1984). Face value: The politics of beauty. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Leap, W. L. (2004). Language and woman’s place: Blueprinting studies of gay men’s English. In M. Bucholtz (Ed.), Language and woman’s place: Text and commentaries (pp. 277-282). New York: Oxford University Press.
Livia, A. (2001). Pronoun envy: Literary uses of linguistic gender. New York: Oxford University Press.
McConnell-Ginet, S. (1978). Intonation in a man’s world. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 3, 541-559.
McElhinny, B. (1993). We all wear the blue: Language, gender, and police work (Doctoral dissertation, Standford University).
Meyerhoff & J. Holmes (Eds.), Handbook of language and gender (pp. 353-380). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Morgan, M. H. (2002). Language, discourse, and power in African American culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Parks, S. L. (2017). Venus. New York: Theatre Communications Group.
Queen, R. (2004). I am a woman, hear me roar: The importance of linguistic stereotype for lesbian identity performances. In M. Bucholtz (Ed.), Language and woman’s place: Text and commentaries (pp. 289-295). New York: Oxford University Press.
Shaffer, C. (2008). Staging a new literary history: Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus, In the Blood, and Fucking A. Comparative Drama. 42(2), 181-203.
Tannen, D. (1986). That’s not what I meant! How conversational style makes or breaks relationships. New York: Ballantine.
Vanhoutte, J. (2017). Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus and the Petrarchan tradition. Texas Studies in Literature and Language. 59(2), 234-267.
Vlasopolos, A. (2000). Venus live! Sarah Bartmann, the Hottentot Venus, re-membered. Mosaic. 33(4), 129-143.
Young, J. (1997). The re-objectification and re-commodification of Saartjie Baartman in Suzan-Lori Parks’s ‘Venus’. African American Review. 31(4), 699-708.