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Titre: Males’ and Females’ Voice quality in Mostaganem Spoken Arabic: A Community of Practice Perspective
Auteur(s): Bakhta, Abdelhay
Date de publication: 2008
Résumé: For the past forty years or so, sociolinguistics has explored many aspects related to how gender and language interact. Within speech community based sociolinguistics, issues of gender emerged as the study of sex differences in which the focus of analysis was the quantifiable differences between women’s and men’s use of particular linguistic variables. There was a tendency to represent masculinity and femininity as a gender “binary” with specific emphasis on the deficit model of analysis that portrays women in negative ways and men in positive ways. However and contrary to the traditional binary view of masculinity and femininity, the central theme running through this dissertation is that language use with all its components is one important means by which gender – an ongoing social process – is enacted or constructed; gender is something individuals do, in part, through linguistic choices as opposed to something individuals are or have as advocated in the speech community based sociolinguistics. A biological sex and a social or a socialised gender within a given speech community is inadequate if agency and diversity are to be properly acknowledged and if crucially language is seen as shaping or more constructing gender, not simply as a characteristic of it. It then becomes evident that variations namely, within a single gender and within a single speaker need to be investigated not in terms of fixedness but as a practice in a specific context which, amounts to looking at situated or local meanings, i.e. those meanings assigned by participants within a given context to a given set of contextual features. This is convincingly shown in the Community of Practice framework, according to which identities and discourses develop in a community of practice. The latter is used here to analyse the voice qualities to convey linguistic practices associated with an identity of women and men in Mostaganem (so far unexamined) and to illustrate the manner in which members of two local communities females and males negotiate gender through linguistic practice. It details a current research into females and males teachers and trainee teachers as two separate communities of practice focussing on locally defined identities as constructed through interactions.It investigates varied voice qualities, which emerge from the mutual engagement of females and males evolving in one Algerian city. Specifically, it aims to locate the symbolic meaning and interpretation of the array of voice qualities as practices and interactional strategies observed in their relation to identity construction , and understand, through direct engagement with participant how their use constructs locally meaningful categories or joint interpretations of self. Rather than all conforming to one standard ideal, Mostaganem females and males use stylized voice types and employ a variety of possible pitch ranges, and other voice quality features. Within the same speaker of either sex, some voice types are indeed high-pitched, cute and thin whereas others are low pitched, authoritative and thick subverting traditional notions of Mostaganem femininity and masculinity.
Collection(s) :Doctorat Anglais

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