The article aims at studying the use of prohibitive constructions with the nomination of the person (boy, girl) in the form of "X should not Y" in utterances that can be viewed as indirect prohibitive speech acts. Discourse analysis of the material shows that formally being affirmative or interrogative statements these utterances, nevertheless, fulfil the function of social regulators. Thus, the article discusses their role in gender formation, shows how the utterances of this type contribute to dissemination of the existing gender stereotypes as an important part of social identity or to transforming of these stereotypes. We also apply comparative approach that demonstrates the specific features of English and Russian utterances of the same type. The utterances are considered from the point of view of a) directionality of the prohibition, b) critical/non critical attitude to the stereotypes and c) linguistic markers of positive, negative or ambivalent evaluation of the gender stereotypes. As a result, it is demonstrated that the utterances can both emphasize stereotypical expectations about the subject who plays a gender role and about other people acting towards the subject. The article covers syntactic and semantic markers of the prohibition directionality (use of active/passive voice; semantics of the infinitive; which issues the prohibition is concerned with; use of attributes with X). The analysis also shows that the degree to which the speaker understands the stereotypic nature of the ideas expressed can be only assessed in relation to the evaluative attitude towards them. Thus, various markers of critical attitude in the utterance itself or the context of its use are discussed. It is argued that though more than a half of the utterances that include evaluation of the gender stereotype evaluate it positively, the markers are much more variable in case of negative evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalVoprosy Kognitivnoy Lingvistiki
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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