Language, Indexicality and Gender Ideologies: Contextual Effects on the Perceived Credibility of Women

Levon, Erez; Ye, Yang (2020). Language, Indexicality and Gender Ideologies: Contextual Effects on the Perceived Credibility of Women. Gender and Language, 14(2), pp. 123-151. Equinox 10.1558/genl.39235

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It is well established that listeners’ attitudes to variability in language are affected by context. One speaker’s use of a particular form will not necessarily be evaluated in the same way as another’s use of that same form, and the pragmatic meanings listeners associate with speech depend on the specific social setting in which that speech occurs. In this article, we explore how this contextual sensitivity of sociolinguistic perception interacts with broader ideologies about gender. Specifically, we examine how the use of ‘uptalk’, or rising final intonation on declarative utterances, impacts the perceived credibility of women
versus men in different legal contexts, including those characterized by strong ideologies of gender (e.g. a rape trial) and those in which that ideological framing is less pronounced (e.g. a medical malpractice trial). Our goal is to identify how social ideologies about gender affect listeners’ perceptions of uptalk, and to explore the ramifications that these perceptions have on women’s ability to be believed in a courtroom.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

UniBE Contributor:

Levon, Erez


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages








Erez Levon

Date Deposited:

10 Mar 2021 06:36

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 06:36

Publisher DOI:





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