International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 8 Issue 1 (June 1998), Pages 3-159

Boys, girls, language and identity: language attitudes and linguistic behaviour in a rural community in Denmark (pages 3-25)

This article presents results from a study of language attitudes and linguistic behaviour among adolescents of both sexes in a rural community in Denmark. The study concludes that the traditional pattern of boys/men speaking in a significantly more non‐standard way than girls/women is reproduced in the present context, and in the qualitative attitude‐questionnaire the male informants express more genuinely positive attitudes to the language and culture of the local community than the female informants. These findings are then related to the predominant frameworks of gender‐differentiated speech behaviour within sociolinguistics, and it is argued that the existing explanations do not adequately account for the differences recorded in this study. It is suggested that a reconsideration of social identity theory and the constitution of male and female identity may add an important dimension to the traditional sociolinguistic approaches.

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