The Effect of Gender on the English language as Used by Politicians A Sociolinguistic Study

  • Dr. Raad .S. Al-Nawas
  • Hadeel Odei Mohammed
Keywords: language of politicians, Sociolinguistics, Gender and Political Discourse


The present paper sheds light upon a study which concentrates on the study of English as used by politicians with reference to gender. It conveys the idea of how politicians, whether female or male speakers, employ metadiscourse markers, as a language strategy, to function in the process of affecting the addressed audience. Moreover, it establishes the importance of gender, as a social variable, in this respect, and whether it is an effective factor or not. This study aims at the following: investigating the different types of metadiscourse markers employed by politicians in the political discourse; pinpointing which dimension is utilized more; finding out the differences between the female and male political speakers in their employment of such markers; figuring out the more and less frequent types employed by the female political speaker; identifying those types which are more and less frequent in the male's political speeches; showing the similarities between the female and male political speakers in their utilizations of such markers; and revealing the pragmatic functions of those markers in the political discourse.

     Certain hypotheses are set as follows: the interactional dimension of metadiscourse markers is used more by politicians, whether female or male speakers; the female political speaker utilizes more metadiscourse markers than  the male political speaker's employment in the political speeches; the male political speaker tends to represent himself explicitly in his speeches, more than  the female political speaker; the male political speaker shows a high level of confidence and certainty in highlighting the arguments in his discourse more than the female political speaker; both female and male political speakers reflect their personalities and personal views in their speeches; and the female political speaker is more systematic in her exposition of the text contents, direct in declaring her views and attitudes, and engages her audience into her discourse, more than the male political speaker.  

     For the purpose of testing the stated hypotheses and achieving the aims of the study, certain procedures have been followed by the researcher. It is in such a way that the current study is quantitatively conducted in a numerical form. The data under analysis consist of political speeches of two popular figures in Britain (Theresa May, the former prime minister of the UK and Boris Johnson, the current one). The speeches deal with various topics, especially the Brexit. They involve fourteen thousand and four hundred words, collected form the internet websites during 2020. They have been mathematically analysed by finding out the frequency and rates of the metadiscourse markers. The last point to be mentioned here is that all the hypotheses are verified and validated upon the basis of the obtained results. It is concluded that politicians, whether female or male speakers, rely heavily on the interactional dimension of metadiscourse markers, rather than the interactive one. The obtained results show that Theresa May employs more metadiscourse markers than those of Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson utilizes a high level of self-mention. Both Theresa and Boris explicitly intervene into the discourse by means of evaluation and commentary on a given material. Transition, attitude, and engagement markers are employed more by Theresa May. Gender, as a social variable, is considered as an important and effective  factor in the political discourse