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Differences in the ways that men and women use politeness language strategies have been one of the most important research subjects in sociolinguistic. Lakoff is one of the most significant scholars of gender-difference research for the past forty years. Her 1975 study into language and woman’s place plays a key role in launching the issue of gender-related differences in politeness. In her influential research, she concludes that women’s speech sounds much more polite than men’s sound in terms of linguistic forms like tag-questions and requests (p.17-19). In other words, in conversation females are more likely to use politeness strategies in their speech than males. One aspect of politeness strategies is that the speaker should not impose a viewpoint on other people. Thus a tag-question is a kind of polite statement in that it does not force agreement or belief on the addressees. Using tag-questions is a special linguistic feature of gender differences in politeness. Holmes agrees that in general the women use more tags than the men, as Lakoff predicts. She summarizes her findings in the following table after she carries out a research into a sixty-thousand word corpus containing equal amounts of female and male speech collected in a range of matched contexts . On the contrary, as it is clearly seen in the result that Holmes identifies that men and women do not use tag questions for the same purpose. “Women put more emphasis than men on the polite or affective functions of tags, using facilitative positive politeness devices. Men, on the other hand use more tags for the expression of uncertainty” (1992, p.320). In fact, women tend to consider tag questions as an indicator of politeness while men use them to express uncertainty in colloquial situations.


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