(Ap)parent Gender: Gendered Language and its Use in Asian American Parenting

Kara Chu, Iffet Dogan, Jay Iyengar, and Alisara Koomthong

The following research seeks to observe linguistic variability in the way Asian immigrant parents speak to their Asian American sons compared to their daughters. Participants for the study include two female participants and one male participant who recorded phone calls with their parents sharing both good news and bad news. The phone calls were analyzed for linguistic variability through word choice and intonation use by the participants’ parents. In addition to data collection, scenes from television shows that represent Asian American family dynamics were analyzed to find possible linguistic variability in the way parents spoke to their daughters in comparison to their sons. This research aimed to uncover the use of gendered language within the cultural norms of Asian American parent-child relationships. More positive language and lower tonal variability were found with the parents of the boy, while more practical language and higher tonal variability were generally found with the parents of the girls.

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