It has long been apparent to scholars that gender exerts an influence on language change. Recently, however, the patterns of gender differentiation attested in empirical studies have been reinterpreted in the light of current social constructionist understandings of gender. Drawing on recent work in variationist sociolinguistics, sociology of language and linguistic anthropology, this chapter focuses on new approaches to explaining gender differentiated patterns of sound change and language shift, the success or failure of planned linguistic reforms, and changes in the social evaluation of gendered speech styles.
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