How Young Women Are Changing The Way We Speak
Linguistic research analyzes the role of females in driving speech trends.
Spoken language changes fast, but who are the agents driving such rapid change? Recent linguistic research is pointing to young women as being very influential in this process and grapples with the question: how do these vocal trends make their way into the mainstream? How do they cross the gender boundaries to the point where it is now men who are more likely to say the word ‘like’ than women?
Recent projects, spearheaded by Stanford linguistics professor Penny Eckert, Mark Liberman at University of Pennsylvania, Long Island University speech scientist Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, and professor Carmen Fought at Pitzer College, are proving the point that there is something deeper here than the merely surface assumption that young women who use certain vocal trends are ‘immature’ or ‘airheads.’