My name is Jessie Huffman and I am a senior at Pace, studying English Language and Literature. The purpose of my research project is to study the relationship between language and status, specifically in a work place setting. After taking Language and Gender with Professor Kristen DiGennaro my sophomore year at Pace, I was fascinated by the common misconceptions of language that are typically associated with gender. Through the class and the assigned readings, I developed my own theory: language is actually a function of status recognition. We modify our language based on our perception of our role in conjunction with someone else. The most common place of status recognition occurs in the work place, which is why Professor DiGennaro and I have decided to use this setting to evaluate if individuals do modify their language based on their recognition of status, or if it is inherently a function of our chosen gender.
The method we are using to gather information and results is a survey. Currently, Professor DiGennaro and I are in the process of drafting a survey. Before this research project began, I did not realize how much time and deliberation goes into creating a survey. Trying to draft an interactive document that is unbiased is quite a process and I have a new appreciation for people who create surveys on a more regular basis. We believe though that this will be the best way to illicit responses from people that are calculated, because they will have to consider the roles of the individuals mentioned, the gender, and then think of an appropriate response for the given situation.
I hope to gain a better understanding through this project of the relationship between language and gender overall. As a woman trying to enter what has typically been a male dominated field, law, I am hoping this project can give women like myself who are trying to break the glass ceiling in their careers a better understanding of their language usage. We do not realize how important language is and how our usage of language has an impact, and I hope that maybe my project will highlight this importance and make people think about how they talk to each other not just in the workplace, but across all facets of life.