Authors: Yingying Peng and Xiaofang Gao
Abstract: In recent years, there has been a great interest in discussing whether there are differences between women and men in their linguistic behavior when using tag questions. Lakoff (1975) claimed that women tend to use more tag questions than men based on her own experience. However, Dubois and Crouch (1975) found that men use tag questions far more than women by analyzing data of an academic conference. The aim of this study is to find out whether the use of tag questions presents a gender difference and whether there are other factors, besides gender, affecting the use of tag questions. Our data were collected from the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB corpus).We calculated and compared the average number of tag questions per million clauses of female speakers to that of male speakers. Specifically, we sorted out tag questions according to purposes, calculated their number, and compared the percentage used by women and men of each category respectively. The result showed that gender does affect the use of tag questions and besides gender, other factors like social status and self-confidence also contribute to the use of tags.
Keywords: tag questions; gender difference; other factors; ICE-GB corpus