Gender/Genre: The Lack of Gendered Register in Texts Requiring Genre Knowledge

Written Communication, 33(4), 360-84, 2016, DOI: 10.1177/0741088316667927

34 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2016 Last revised: 21 Apr 2018

See all articles by Brian Larson

Brian Larson

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: September 24, 2016

Abstract

Some studies have found characteristics of written texts that vary with author gender, echoing popular beliefs about essential gender differences that are reinforced in popular works of some scholarly authors. This article reports a study examining texts (N = 193) written in the same genre—a legal memorandum—by women and men with similar training in production of this type of discourse— the first year of U.S. law school—and finds no difference between them on the involved–informational dimension of linguistic register developed by Biber. These findings provide quantitative data opposing essentialist narratives of gender difference in communication. This essay considers relevance theory as a framework for understanding the interaction, exhibited in this and previous studies, of genre knowledge and gendered communicative performances. (PDF here is the pre-release version. The journal's version is available from the journal or the author.)

Keywords: legal texts, legal discourse, corpus, automated text analysis, relevance theory, cognitive environment

Suggested Citation

Larson, Brian, Gender/Genre: The Lack of Gendered Register in Texts Requiring Genre Knowledge (September 24, 2016). Written Communication, 33(4), 360-84, 2016, DOI: 10.1177/0741088316667927, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2843640

Brian Larson (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

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