Discursive Description of Gender Linguistics


Problem Statement: Study of gender peculiarities. Discursive description of gender linguistics and some aspects of nonverbal communication norms. Differences and similarities in the behavior of men and women in different countries. Research Questions:The emotional peculiarities of genders. Study and identification of emotional state according to gender linguistics by nonverbal means. Purpose of the Study: The study of emotional state of women and men, facial expressions degree of control over the nonverbal behavior as cultural indicator. Emotional state expressed by nonverbal means contributes to disclosure of inner world, aesthetic appreciation of personality in gender linguistics. Research Methods:There were used discursive, comparative and descriptive analyses for classifying the features of behavioral state of men and women. Universal types of emotion, external indicators of nonverbal communication, their similarities and differences in different countries are explained. Diversity of mental states, actions, reactions to the disclosure of individual state in gender linguistics. Findings:The positive achievements in cross cultural communication. Emotional state of gender, discursive description of intonation, variety of mental states and characteristics contribute to a better understanding of gender psychology in linguistics. Human ability to identify the basic emotions and nonverbal displays are universal. These data show the women have the same rights as men. Conclusions: The study focuses on the problems of discursive description of gender linguistics which is the new and actual theme in the philological science nowadays. The concept of gender is a scientific trend to define a social place of the women and men in a society.

Keywords: gender linguistics, feminism, intonation, nonverbal communication

1. Introduction

The concept of gender

The gender linguistics is a new trend applied in linguistics of the present philology science. It is based on the analysis of peculiarities in language interaction between women and men from the linguistic point of view. It should be noted that Kirilina A., Martinyuk A., Zemskaya E. and Rozanova H. were the founders of the research in this direction [1, 24]. The scholars make a great contribution taking into account a problem of the women language in Kazakh linguistics. The peculiarities of the women language is not a new phenomenon brought intoour language.It is known as an expressive lingual category which has been existed before in language use. Basically, an American feminist writer Annie Oakley (1860-1926) used to introduce the term gender with a meaning of “sex” into sociology [2, 12].

Thus, a concept of gender in the meaning of sex considers social aspects of the differences between men and women. However, nowadays term “gender” is used in its wide meaning. It is used not only for defining individuality of the each person, but also for determining cultural goals and stereotypes of the both sex i.e. man and women. In 1970s main focus of the sociologists and psychologists was on proving the problem of having sex gender. Thus, they tried to prove that it is impossible to explain division and differences between men and women depending on their biological diversity, men and women ideas from a cultural point of view are unnatural and that they are slightly close to the real truth. Sex is considered as multicultural versions related to the genes and also role of the men and women. Investigations are being held on turning of the youth into mature men and women through social interactions, a family ideology, cultural educating, developing them are considered as results of the socialization process of the boys and girls. It has been investigated that housework are not divided equally between man and woman. It should be noted that recently the structural changes of a cultural gender are seem to be interesting.

The concept of gender is a scientific trend to define a social place of the woman and man in a society. Gender has its origin from the feminism. The feminism began from the women in the Western countries who used to defend their political rights and continued to “emancipation” (to achieve biosocial equality), then later to the gender. Nowadays its meaning is becoming wider. There are some reasons for that including:

  • social aspects of the concepts “woman” and “man” have been become wide;
  • there are different types of their relationships today;
  • not only hermaphrodites, but also transsexualists fight for defence of their rights, try to define their role in a society.

To involve above-mentioned things into the gender and to consider it widely takes its origin from the foreign countries. The country where gender equality is developed is Scandinavia. Namely, beginning from 1905-1920 women from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden were given opportunity to participate in the elections and also to be a candidate for the elections.

The women and men in all Scandinavian countries are equal rights to participate in politics and to work anywhere wherever they want. Gender equality in these countries is the same in spite of the national variety. The difference of these countries from other countries is that their government authorities are admitted to solve the issues such as housework problems and family relationships. 29% of the women in Sweden made their contribution in the politics in 1960s and this rate reached 48% in 1998.

Any boy and any girl must get a secondary education in spite of a gender inequality because they will be given an opportunity to continue education. The law adopted in a sphere of public work in Sweden in 1992 strengthened the equality. There are several measures held in the framework of gender in Kazakhstan including:

  • to be against of a social role limitation of the women;
  • to promote them to work in all spheres;
  • to contribute to create different organizations striving for political education and power.

It should be noted that these measures are being implemented without any difficulties. Thus, gender is not only a simple concept related to the woman and man, but also a concept describing a social aspect of their relationships. Gender roles describe distinction of work, position, rights and obligations of the individual personalities. However, gender does not only involve the social roles related to role and sex. Moreover, a concept “gender display” was introduced to describe different aspects in cultural structure of the sex. The gender display is regarded as imperceptible cultural codes to describe standard variety related to woman and man and their social interaction. Thus, gender is a social phenomenon to determine individual and personal possibilities to get an education, to be professionally promoted, to achieve the power, to have own family and to bring up future generation.

The above-mentioned social phenomena can be realized due to the cultural aspects of the society. In this case a concept of gender has a meaning of a cultural gender. Therefore, we should take into consideration a concept of a gender intellect while examining the gender problem. It is one feature of the social intellects. There have been defined men and women interaction depending on the intellectual feelings of each ethnos in our multinational state. We can state that a right of any sex, of any nation representative is legally defended. The main problems of gender investigations are to define cultural and social factors which identify relation to men and women in a society, character peculiarities of individuals depending on their sex and a stereotype description of their main qualities as man and woman.

The current study of gender linguistics

Geneticists, psychologists, philosophers and sociologists were interested in gender differences in 198os. The fact that gender differences play an important role during upbringing process was shown in the works of the scholars such as J. Piajai, K. Horny, L. Vitkin, I.O. Kon, N.Y. Erofeyeva, F. Rice, R. Sabirov, A.G. Khripkova and D.V. Kolesov [3, 29]. Moreover, gender peculiarities are closely connected with terms such as masculine and feminine. Masculine is regarded as a distinction of the men from women (boys and girls) by their somatic, psychic and character features. Feminine is an opposite concept of the masculine i.e. a distinction of the women from men (girls and boys) by their somatic, psychic and character features.

Nowadays investigation of the gender peculiarities is being as one of the important issues. In addition, gender linguistics is also one of the key issues of scientific researches. In other words, gender linguistics is one of the rapidly developing directions in the present linguistics. As a term “gender” has not been systematically used in linguistic literatures, words “sex” and “gender” are used together in the works of the scholars. Gender is a model of woman and man created by the society. It defines an individual place and role of the woman and man in a social life, social and cultural places. In general, scholars began dealing with problems of “sex and word” in foreign linguistics in 60-70s of the XX century. “Gender” which denotes grammatical gender category was taken away from the linguistic context. Now it became as an investigation object of other science spheres such as social philosophy, sociology, history and politology.

Later this term was newly introduced into the present linguistics as a result of developing investigations on gender.

Nowadays gender linguistics mainly is paying a special attention to the individual peculiarities and sign differences of men and women language. Therefore, today scholars of the different countries widely investigate gender peculiarities in language. For instance, German scholars F. Verneer and K. Narinz paid more attention to psychological differences of speaking depending on sex, particularly, to women`s professional language rather than articulation feature of their speaking [4, 77].

It is explained that to consider function of the brain during speaking process which is connected with a human psyche and its influence on speech organs is very important for linguistics and also for psychology. Thus, it is impossible to imagine the speaking without a language and the perception of speaking without psychology. Therefore, above-mentioned two sciences should jointly investigate these issues.

The scholars regarded as founders of gender linguistics in the Russian linguistics are A.V. Kirilina, E.V. Mitrokhina, A.V. Besarabenko and E.I. Trofimova [5, 17]. Their scientific researches are devoted to the trend of gender linguistics in linguistics of Russia. Basically, A.V. Kirilina is a scholar greatly contributed to description of a concept “gender” from a lingual point of view and definition of their peculiarities in Russian language. Russian scholar K. Puzirenko in his research shows that this trend in linguistics is called as “feministic or sex linguistics”. Furthermore, scholars such as Y.F. Chufarovsky, E.P. Ilyin, I.S. Kon who investigated gender problem in psychology and sociology made a psychological and ethnolinguistic analysis in their works. Thus, we can state that a word “gender” has a wide meaning comparing with word “biological sex”. This word is related to the concept “social sex” i.e. it was used in linguistics as a model of woman and man in a society.


Reflection of gender linguistics in the Kazakh culture

Gender investigations are phenomenon for the Kazakh science. Although, gender investigations were not mentioned in Kazakh linguistics and were not written in any research works, we can find this issue in the works of A. Akhmetov “Taboos and euphemisms in Turkic languages” and M. Bimagambetova “Ethics of the Kazakh word”. They were researchers who dealt with language peculiarities related to the women in Kazakh nation.

It should be noted that even before gender issues were investigated in Kazakh linguistics. However, it is required to investigate it thoroughly in present native linguistics. Hence, there are being written more researches regarding language issues in gender linguistics including scientific researches of linguists such as B. Khasanuly, G. Mamayeva, K. Zhanatayev, G. Shokym, M. Eshimov and A. Baigutova [6, 17]. Therefore, the main aim of gender investigations in linguistics is to determine social, cognitive, sociological and national factors which identify the language interaction related to men and women, to define a nature, character peculiarities of the individuals and their lingual features depending on their qualities related to man or woman.

Gender linguistics is a new branch in Kazakh linguistics which has been developing since 80s of the previous century. This branch is related to social linguistics (branch investigating interrelation of language and society), psycholinguistics (perception of the personal character and concept by the individual; influence of their qualities processing in the brain on a language itself), lingvocultural study () and ethnolinguistics (to search a significance and importance of national features in language from the history, spiritual culture, mentality and creative works of the nation) [7].


Anthropocentric trend which began prevailing in present linguistic researches increased interest to the personal and social aspects of the human being. The researches in this branch prove that it is a natural phenomenon to investigate language combining with cognition, person who uses this language and subject.

We should admit an importance of the decree “About approval of the gender equality Strategy for 2006-2016 in Kazakhstan” among other measures held in this sphere.

The government taking into consideration gender equality and character peculiarities of women and men in the framework of the law assigned to observe the equal rights of the both sex. There were some facts in the gender researches including terrible traditions in some Eastern countries. For instance, newborn girls were buried alive because a birth of the girl in a family was understood as dishonour. And on the contrary in some countries women were praised. A goddess−Umay was greatly respected in the beliefs of the ancient Turks. She protected the family and children. This was written on the monument dedicated in honour of the Tonikok: “We should think that sky, goddess Umay, sacred land and water are all led us to the victory!” The god of the land and water is also created due to the idolizing the nature. There was an Altay legend where it was stated like this: “Until the god Ulgen lives in a space which is on the infinite, boundless and deep sea. Then a White woman comes out of the water and teaches Ulgen how to create land and sky.”


Text analysis of the novel “Abai’s Way” by M.Auezov showed that the author makes extensive use of gestural kinesics to describe their characters and it . More than 500 contexts with different gestures were found out in the novel. As a rule, characters who exist within the novel are collective art-historical images (Kunanbay, Zhirenshe, Ulzhan, Zere, Ospan, Abai etc.) which are displayed in behavior stereotypes and norms relevant to their social status and time. Detailed analysis of the novel allowed to find out examples of non-standard operation of gestural kinesics instead of the intonation. Thus, describing a life of characters in the novel author uses common gestures that often operate in similar situations from a gender perspective. For example: 1.: “... I imagined it, or what?” - she thought and looked again [8, 58]. - But Abay, you are a bard! - shesaid smiling [8, 318]. ...Ulzhan talked about it with a sigh. Abai grimly frowned and pondered deeply [8, p.214].

In this situation Ulzhan behaves as a weak woman, referring to Abai and seeking his protection. The essense of a defenseless person is shown in this natural gesture which can not be more eloquently expressed. Therefore author emphasizes a tragic situation of Ulzhan. This feminine gesture was intended to arouse pity for her inner feelings with him. However, reader feels the author`s position and a writer casually use words and for accurate expression of the character Abai. So it takes on the meaning that becomes an artistic portrait, that is, along with the intonation, causing the necessary experience in the reader; 2) : - My dear, my sun, you are my lamb... Did not you pity, you say? He does not know pity ! She lifted herface to the sky with closed eyes and whispered: - Oh, my God, take my sorrowful prayer! Fence the joy of my soul from ruining malice of a father! Take away child from his cruelty and callousness, our creator.. - Blessing grandson, she touched his face with her helpless old crooked fingers [8, p.60].

- Get out, evil spirit, get out! Leave my son! - she said and turning Abai’s face to a setting sun, continued her amazing treatment by sprinkling a boy with water from her mouth [8 , 62]. When reading these lines a reader automatically imagines an intonation of the old Zere .

Body language is always eloquent during intonation moments and rich with connotations [9 , c. 56].

Universal gesture is peculiar to people in old age - (Blessing grandson, she his face with her helpless old crooked fingers) cinematographically and accurately describes the nature of hero.

- Get out, evil spirit, get out ! Leave my son ! - she said and turning Abai`s face to a setting sun, continued her amazing treatment by sprinkling a boy with water from her mouth. Abai who was in bed (sick) and grandson treatment of Zere with old charming. It is a universal and real body gesture in these conditions when a grandmother treats her beloved grandson. But it also shows that Zere truly loved her grandson and unselfishly performed her mother`s duty – duty of a grandmother. We should note that the author uses relative subordinate to introduce this body gesture into the text. Common body gesture for a given situation is described and which is also peculiar to the many nations.


In the discursive description of the situation body gesture introduces participle structure taking a peripheral position. So, M. Auezov describes general communicative body gestures traditionally related to the person and also applies a gender approach. Even small number of examples that we have analyzed manifest features of individual skill of the writer and a role played by movements in the text. They are so naturally and harmoniously fit into the story that a reader barely notices them. However, a writer has used a number of additional details and presents them into the text in order to make a reader to notice these gestures.

So, different syntax constructions are used for the same purpose. Let us consider some etiquette communicative gestures. ... This friendly gesture adopted in many Eastern peoples has a sign of ritualism in this context. Zere is a typical representative of her ethnic era: intelligent, solicitious, clever, wise and infinitely loving grandmother of her grandson. That ritual treatment of a grandson from the disease contributes to the formation of a new connotation gesture. - Get out, evil spirit, get out! Leave my son! - she said. It is also a gesture of etiquette, but it already means a concern. At first glance, gestures seem to be the same, but their semantic content is differentiated, and they are expressed in different cinemo, and they are often used to describe multi-valued gestures often associated with strong feelings and emotions. In this context, we are talking about strong feelings of Abai’s grandmother Zere about a disease of her grandson which has outward display. Described gesture shows desperation and helplessness of person before diseases and which exactly presents this gesture and gives intensity of its aesthetic value. In this context the focus is on different nonverbal means of expressing human emotions and relationships. Love and anxiety of Zere are introduced through such emotional reactions as tears and kisses etc. M. Auezov being a realist writer gives to his heroes characteristics and reactions peculiar to human society.The interesting thing is a description of gestures associated with expressing strong emotions such as anger, fear. A rude expression of anger by Kunanbay is his next gesture characteristic of men: ... [8, 53]. This gesture creates imagery and proves men`s nature as well as mercantilism of forbidden relations. He gives the impression of irreversibility of events and collapsed hopes and enhances the effect of character`s anger.[ 8, p.215]. Whole essence of man is expressed in this natural gesture which can not be expressed more eloquently and it clearly emphasizes tragedy position of character.


According to our findings a novel of Mukhtar Auezov has an extensive range of body movements that reflect a person`s attitude to all sorts of reality phenomena, including, above all , social and family relationships in a society that identify their role and importance in the discourse. At the same time, it allows to establish their compliance with the standards and principles active in a certain period of time and space for a certain group of people or an individual.

Introduction of gestural kinesics in the novel of M. Auezov provides a valuable material for the artistic method of the writer, his personality and skill, can detect the component ratio of the intensity, emotion, imagery as part of aesthetic evaluation of body language which is important in studying of gender linguistics. Movements come in the novel in a complex relationship with the idea of work, with a system of images, characters, author’s views, helping to realize deeper the writer’s worldview.

Some similarities and differences of gender linguistics identified by nonverbal communication due to ethnic and geographical peculiarities. It complicates crosscultural communication and serves as a barrier in understanding even between West and East. But despite of this we should remember that cultures can be different in relation to express emotions and perception of emotional signal, but the type of emotions and their external nonverbal expressions are universal in gender linguistics for all people.


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14 May 2014

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Social psychology, collective psychology, cognitive psychology, psychotherapy

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Orazbekova, Z., Zhalalova, A., & Сengiz, E. (2014). Discursive Description of Gender Linguistics. In Z. Bekirogullari, & M. Y. Minas (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences – icCSBs 2014, vol 1. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 146-152). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2014.05.17