Linguistik online 5, 1/00

"Vordergründig war ich für die gar nicht frau ..."
Zur sprachlichen Repräsentation von Geschlecht

Anita Fetzer
Universität Stuttgart


This contribution argues for an investigation of gender in an interactive multicausal framework with multiple social identities. Depending on the participants' communicative goals, these social identities are highlighted  or attributed to the background. Part I analyses the linguistic means the German language offers for the linguistic representation of gender and occupation and illustrates how these means are employed to reconstruct the corresponding identities. In German, speakers can represent their gender identity explicitly by  (1) gender-specific lexical items and gender-specific collocations, and  (2) adding the gender-specific morpheme -in to occupation. Part II adapts the results obtained to a discursive frame of reference based on the  communication act plus/minus-validity claim, i.e. speakers postulating validity claims which are ratified by hearers. Thus, coparticipants negotiate the communicative status of validity claims. Interlocutors have a  dual function: firstly, they represent the discourse-inherent category of discourse identity, and secondly, the discourse-creating category of coparticipant. Here, the social indexes of gender and occupation represent  valdity claims and therefore require ratification. If they are accepted they are assigned a presuppositional status and do not have to be made explicit any longer. If they are rejected they initiate a negotiation-of-validity sequence. For this reason, the explication of social indexes at a later stage in discourse indicates that the  corresponding communicative status is at stake.

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