Body Performance in Gendered Language Deconstructing the Mandarin Term Sajiao in the Cultural Context of Taiwan
Keywords:gender and language, ethnography of communication, gender education, cultural terms, femininity, performativity
Language not only constitutes but also restricts communicative actions. Words, phrases, and terms routinely used by native speakers to refer to communication practices reveal profound meanings about the culture under study. These terms are defined as cultural terms, which are meta-language used by native speakers to characterize communication practices that are significant to them. This paper explores the meaning and the social practice of a Mandarin cultural term, sajiao, a babyish form of persuasion. The framework derived from the tradition of ethnography of communication examines how sajiao is understood as a gender indicator and how femininity is talked and performed in the Mandarin-speaking community, Taiwan. The study discusses the importance of language in understanding gender, and the necessity to include the analyses of everyday language in gender education.
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