1. IntroductionLanguage can be categorised in many different ways but for years it has been a study of what really defines our language use. In this journal article I have collected studies carried out by some of the most influential linguists and discussed the implications of their theories concluding what has to be taken in consideration when defining a language and its structural cause and why it cannot be defined by one topic, thus being gender.2. Common Structures.Linguists have studied language patterns for years, and one great focus point has been gender and the structures men and women share and differentiate from. Is it suggested that Women have a need for intimacy when communicating using the English language, therefore a positive face is often used when in conversation, they want to belong to a group / be apart of something. Therefore, Women will use a vast amount of hedges, showing uncertainty, highly noticeable when meeting a new group of people or trying to impress the opposing person. The uncertainty of hedges shows nervousness of saying too much or just to say the wrong thing all together. Women will also use implication, for example ‘it’s hot in here, isn’t it?’ by using a declarative then contradicting the statement with the tag question ‘isn’t it?’ to gain reassurance. Furthermore, over-polite forms are used and it is also suggested that Women will use hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation, overting their prestige. Researches label the language use of women as a way they come across and are believed to be weaker. So ultimately they are suggested to be easily dominated when in conversation with those of the opposite sex.Deborah Tannen studied the difference in language use in men and women and came up with a controversial theory commonly known as ‘the difference theory’. Tannen theory suggests that men and women are complete opposites in terms of language use starting from childhood, this idea suggests from birth parental figures of the child will use more abstract nouns for feelings when talking to girl and more verbs for a boy and the reason they are different is due to them being a part of two different sub-cultures. The features and characteristics found are ; Men :Women :1.Status Support2.IndependenceIntimacy3.AdviceUnderstanding4.InformationFeelings5.OrdersProposals6.ConflictCompromiseThis theory was then challenged by William O’Barr and Bowman Atkins in their book ‘Women’s Language Or a Powerless Language? – 1980’ where O’Barr and Atkins studied courtrooms and found female lawyers to have the same features of the male speakers Pilkington studied. They would be assertive and interrupt frequently. They also found witnesses of both sexes would use the female ‘weak’ language Robin Lakoff discussed and suggested, from this they concluded that the language traits highlighted as ‘weak’ were not categorised to be female language but just a powerless one, therefore meaning any sex can be weak through their language and not just women. Thus being the only study out of these three influential theories that takes in account a mixed set of people, potentially from different social backgrounds and situations that use similar language features. For example two witnesses, friends of the victim that has been murdered, one male, and one women, and then a female judge. From her status the judge will be using informative language, field specific lexis and have the authority to make interruptions, on the other hand both witnesses are emotive in their language and tone, they’ll be polite and more than likely nervous. By the witnesses belonging to different genders but the same environment and situation using the same language features shows that the gender cannot defy language use.Furthermore linguist Robin Lakoff looked into a mixture of dominance and deficiency between men and women and the social implication involved, they collected data that suggested the main language features used by Women perceived them to be weaker than men, the ten features include; Hedging. Tag questions.Politeness.Emotional emphasis.Empty adjectives.Lack of humour. Direct quotations.Extended vocabulary.Hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation. Declarations with interrogative intonationThis study again narrows down the sexes and their language use and does not take in the context and social background of the individuals they studied. However from more in depth studies this generalisation of gender and language use has be challenged agreeing with O’barr and Atkins theory and shows that the features of men and women’s language structures and features can be due to social status, class and age.3. Social Practices.Penelope Eckert, current Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University, born 1942, challenged linguists such as Lakoff and Tannen and their broad generalisation of language use by different genders, by focusing on that used by smaller social groups within Detroit, in the U.S state of Michigan. Eckert looked past language and its use by different genders, and focussed on the idea that some people use standard forms and other non-standard forms but its cause is not gender, it is solidly down to contextual aspects such as class, environment, and social group.’We clearly cannot talk about gender indepently’ – Penelope Eckert.In every area there is a local language and a suburban language, the speakers of these ‘Languages’ will each have sociolects, maybe with only five other members of that sociolect, who will all have their own idiolect. Therefore gender cannot solemnly define a person’s language use and the pragmatics behind what they say, as every individual has got their own ‘context’. Within her research Eckert defined groups of individuals regarding their social practice, she decided on the groups after observation of their friendship and behaviour, this observation method is known as ethnography. After observation she picked the two most prominently different groups that included occupants of a varied social class, these being;Jocks : school orientated students that respect the authority of teachers etc. and take part in sports and other school activities.Burnouts : students that have a bad attitude/behaviour, dislike school, rebel against the authority of teachers, and involve themselves with a lifestyle of drinking, smoking, drugs and sex.From studying these two groups more closely her data showed that the students spoke more like their friends than those in the same demographic tier regardless their gender. Eckert did find some common occurrence in the genders, women tend to be more conservative and will use standard forms such as ‘walking’ rather than ‘walkin’ and men were found using more of the non-standard forms, however this was not a constant structure for the two genders. This links into the common use of a glottal stop in social groups in England. The constenatal sound that a glottal stop makes often replaces the /t/ in many words for example instead of ‘lu:t?n’ it would be ‘lu:??n’. This phonemic change is vastly seen in the younger generation and can also be seen in many dialects such as people from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, also known as the ‘Geordies’.Similar to O’barr and Atkins, Eckert showed correlation in language features of both genders, neither gender had a set of ‘rules’ that were followed in conversation.4. Different Languages.It’s been highlighted that gender cannot solemnly define a language when looking into English speaking cultures and societies, however in some cultures language for men and women is completely different. The Carib Indians origin from the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies, when members of the Arawak tribe attempted to inhabit the islands the Caribs killed the male occupants and married their women. The two tribes spoke different languages therefore when the couples had a son, he would learn to speak his father’s Carib language, and if they had a daughter she would speak her mother’s Arawak language. However this culture was studied by Rochefort and Jespersen who found that the distinction was extremely small between the two languages and only one tenth of the vocabulary differed from the other language, these words mainly being male and female forms.’The men have a great many expressions peculiar to them, which the women understand but never pronounce themselevs. On the other hand, the women have words and phrases which the men never use, or they would be laughed to scorn. Thus it happens that in their conversations it often seems as if the women had another language than the men.’ (Rochefort 1665, cited Jespersen 1922: 237).This idea was well researched however it is questionable that when women and men have different phrases for particular things really defines them as having a ‘different’ language. This therefore takes us to recognising gender specific words and whether they’re limited to just the one gender. Many languages have gender specific words and endings, for example the language Sidamo spoken in Ethiopia has two different nouns for ‘milk’ the female noun being ‘gurda’ and the male noun being ‘ado’. This illustrates there is gender specific lexis but does not go as far as saying genders have two completely different languages, the different nouns used by the genders in Sidamo may not differ from the English language when talking about a ‘hero’ in a play, book or movie we are suggesting a male, however when walking about a ‘heroine’ we are commenting on a female.Although there is different ways to say the feminine and masculine adaptation this does not limit the specific genders to only use these versions, as a man identifying as female may overt their prestige an act that is suggested to be something only women do, but because they overt their prestige does not mean they must identify as a woman they simply have their own set of language features.5. Conclusion.To conclude this article it is shown from my research above that language cannot be defined by one specific topic however it can have influences. The main influences stemming from gender are the ideology of stereotypes and what women and men should say, or how they should act. To be female does not signify you as ‘weak’ from your language as women such as Margaret Thatcher, made many speeches in parliament that were greatly influential, she used informative language and was independent. However she did belong to the upper class and had the social status that allows access to dominating speech, therefore its questionable whether social class controls your language type and structure more than your gender identity, and if the idea of women having a ‘weak’ language is just down to stereotypes and generalisation.