Mediation Theory and Practice, Vol 1, No 2 (2016)

Divorce and Female Language in a Rural Social Network

Gaillynn Clements
Issued Date: 16 Jan 2017


A long-held notion in linguistics is that females desire to change class status; this desire correlates to gender or female language differences. Much of this work demonstrates the power-saturated gender and sexual orientation social categories intersecting with contexts of politically, socially, educationally, and economically subordinated females. Instead of navigating male and female speech differences, first, identifying motivators of female speech is necessary. A cluster of divorced middle-aged and younger females in a rural North Carolina network participates in significantly different patterns than those of the larger network. This study focuses on these females and their negotiation of community power. Through the application of social identity theory, the cluster members’ use of be is investigated in order to identify motivators of female language behaviours. Females in this community create power through language. Differing post-divorce identity and goals motivate some to use more standard be while others increase use of local forms.

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DOI: 10.1558/mtp.32344


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