An Analysis of Women’s Language and Social Ideologies: A Case Study of An Animated Movie Zootopia

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Pattraporn Naovaratthanakorn
Supong Tangkiengsirisin

Abstract

Gender differences result in women and men using different linguistic features and functions in communication; therefore, understanding these differences could lead to successful communication (Coates, 2004). This study aimed to identify women’s language features and functions used in the animated movie Zootopia. The study adopted critical discourse analysis to examine the dialogue spoken by female characters in the movie collected from the screenplay, and to interpret the meanings of specific social situations. In addition, the movie was watched to support the screenplay for data collection. After the data were gathered, they were categorised into groups of linguistic features and qualitatively analysed based on Tannen’s Genderlect Theory (Tannen, 1990), Coates’s concepts regarding conversational practices (Coates, 2004), and Mills’ research on sexist language (Mills, 2008). The findings show that women in the film use a cooperative style and the language of rapport in communication to build relationships and establish connections with other people. With regard to the features of women’s language, eight linguistic features were found in the study: fillers/hedges, minimal responses, questions, tag questions, politeness, directives, compliments, and swearing. This present study highlights that women use particular language features and styles in communication and that social ideologies are embedded in their language. These findings may increase the understanding of current trends in language use and raise awareness regarding the prevailing attitudes and values in society.

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