Gendered Social-interactional Contexts in Educational Institutions in Iraq

Abstract views: 153 / PDF downloads: 165




academic institutions, Gender, masculine and feminine, social variables


Social variables have a tremendous impact on the language spoken by the male and female genders, particularly in Eastern cultures. Because men and women in Arabic cultures are typically raised separately, they speak somewhat differently depending on their gender. Arabic is used exclusively in educational institutions in the Arab world. The objective of the present study was to examine certain social and linguistic aspects of the language spoken by females and males in mixed academic organisations from the point of view of female academics. It also examined some noted gender differences in previous gender studies of the interactional styles of the two genders in higher education institutions in Iraq from the perspective of female ‎‎academics, as well as the results of Holmes and Stubbe’s (2003) work. Seventy female lecturers from a variety of disciplines at the University of Baghdad participated in the present research. The data analysis was quantitative in nature. The findings are discussed following a statistical analysis of the collected data using SPSS software. The researchers have reached a number of conclusions, including that female academics should be extremely careful in their choice of vocabulary when speaking to male colleagues because their vocabulary indicates their social status, which was rated as being very high. The female academics were found to use more polite words and compound sentences than did the male academics with regard to the topics of discussion and institutional interactions; none of the female academics disagreed with this point.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Dr. Alham, University of Diyala

Alham Fadhl Muslah is Senior lecture (Ph.D.) in Intercultural Linguistics at the University of Diyala, Iraq. Her main research interests are Cultural studies, pragmatics, and discourse analysis especially political discourse.

Dr. Nawal, university of Baghdad

Nawal Fadhil Abbas is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq. Her fields of interest include cultural studies, discourse analysis, stylistics, and pragmatics.


Abd-el-Jawad, H. (1989). Language and women’s place with special reference to Arabic. Language Sciences, 11(3), 305–324. DOI:

Abu-Haidar, F. (1991). Language and sex: The case of expatriate Iraqis. In A. Kaye (Ed.), Semitic studies in honor of Wolf Leslau on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday (pp. 409–425). Harrassowitz.

Al-Ali, N. (Spring 2013). The challenges for women working at Iraqi universities: Middle East (Report 266). Middle East Research and Information Project.

Al-Harahsheh, M. M. (2014). Language and gender differences in Jordanian ‎spoken Arabic: A sociolinguistics perspective. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, ‎‎4(5), 872–882. DOI:

Aries, E. (1996). Men and women in interaction: Reconsidering the differences. Oxford University Press.

Bassiouney, R. (2010). Identity and code-choice in the speech of educated women and men in Egypt: Evidence from talk shows. In R. Bassiouney (Ed.), Arabic and the media, (pp. 97–123). Brill. DOI:

Benmamoun, E. (1996). Agreement asymmetries and the PF interface. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics, 6, 106–128. DOI:

Cameron, D. (1998). Performing gender identity: Young men’s talk and ‎the ‎construction of heterosexual masculinity. In J. Coates (Ed.), Language and gender: A rReader ‎‎ (pp. 270–284). Blackwell Publishers.

‎Case, S. (1985). A socio-linguistic analysis of the language of gender relations, deviance and influence in managerial groups [Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New York]. ‎

Case, S. (1988). Cultural differences, not deficiencies: An analysis of managerial women’s language. In S. Rose & L. Larwood (Eds.), Women’s careers (pp. 41–63). Praeger.

Coates, J. (1996). Women talk. Blackwell.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education. ‎Routledge Falmer.‎

Cox, A., Read, A., & Van, M. (1990). Male-female differences in communicating job related humor:An exploratory study. Humor, 3(3), 287–295. DOI:

Dendane, Z. (1998). Aspects of women’s speech in Tlemcen. Cahiers de Linguistique et Didactique, 1, 25–32.

Drakich, J., & James, D. (1993). Understanding gender differences in amount ‎of talk. In ‎D. Tannen (Ed.), Gender and conversational interaction, (pp. 281–312). Oxford University Press.

‎‎‎Edelsky, C. (1981). Who’s got the floor? Language in Society, 10(3), 383–421. DOI:

El-Saadawi, N. (1980). The hidden face of Eve: Women in the Arab world (Trans. Sheriff Hatta). Zed Books.

Fisher, S. (1993). Gender, power, resistance: Is care the remedy? In S. Fisher & ‎K. Davis (Eds.), Negotiating at the Margi1l3: The gendered discourse of power and resistance (pp. 87–121). Rutgers University Press.

Hachimi, A. (2007). Gender. In K. Versteegh et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics (vol. 2, pp. 155–164).

Haeri, N. (1996). The sociolinguistic market of Cairo: Gender, class and education. ‎ Kegan Paul International. ‎

Harrell, S. (2004). A short reference grammar of Moroccan Arabic. Georgetown University Press.

Holmes, J. (1995). Women, men and politeness. Longman.

Holmes, J. (2000). Victoria University of Wellington’s language in the workplace project: An overview. Language in the Workplace Occasional Papers, 1. /wlp /resources /opl.htm

Holmes, J. (2008). An introduction to sociolinguistics (3rd ed.). Longman.

Holmes, J., & Stubbe, M. (2003). Power and politeness in the workplace: A‎ sociolinguistic analysis of talk at work. Longman. ‎

Holmes, J., Vine, B., & Marra, M. (2020). Contesting the culture order: Contrastive pragmatics in action. Journal of Contrastive Pragmatics, 7(1), 1–27. DOI:

Johnson, C. (1993). Gender and formal authority. Social Psychology Quarterly, 56(3), 193–210. DOI:

Kebede, G. (2017). Gender diversity in management positions and organizational performance: A review of literature. Management Studies and Economic Systems, 3(4), 245–252 DOI:

Lakoff, R.T. (1975). Language and woman’s place. Harper and Row.

Lakoff, R.T. (1990). Why can’t a woman be less like a man? In Talking power: The ‎politics of language. Basic Books.

Lakoff, R.T. (‎2004). Language and women’s place: Text and ‎commentaries. Oxford University Press. ‎

McDowell, J. (2018). Men’s talk in women’s work: Doing being a nurse. In B. Vine (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language in the workplace (pp. 361–372). Routledge. DOI:

Mernissi, F. (1994). The harem within. Bantam Books.

Mohammed, N., & Abbas, N. (2016). Impoliteness in literary discourse: A pragmatic study. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 5(2), 76–82. DOI:

Muslah, A. (2019) Language usages by Arabic woman in the Arabic society. International Journal of ELT, Linguistics and Comparative Literature, 7(2), 9–15.

Nelson, W. (1998). Women’s ways: Interactive patterns in predominantly female ‎research team. In J. Coates (Ed.), Language and gender: A reader (pp. 354–372). Blackwell.

Riger, S., & Galligan, P. (1980). Women in Management: An exploration of competing paradigms. American Psychologist, 35(10), 902–910. DOI:

Sadiqi, F. (2003). Women, gender and language in Morocco. Brill.‎‎ DOI:

Sadiqi, F. (2007). Arabic in gender. In Brill Encyclopedia of linguistics. Brill.

Sadiqi, F., & Ennaji, M. (2006). The feminization of public space: Women’s activism, the family law, and social change in Morocco. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 2, 86–114. DOI:

Stroi, O. (2019). Gender-biased language of the workplace. Discourse, 5(6), 120–131. DOI:

Stubbe, M. (1998). Striking a balance: Language, gender and professional‎ identity. In S. Wertheim, C. Bailee, & M. Corston-Oliver (Eds.), ‎Engender communication: Proceedings of the fifth Berkeley women and language conference (pp. 545–556). Berkeley Women and Language Group, University of California.

Tannen, D. (1994). Gender and discourse. Oxford University Press.

Tannen, D. (1997). Gender and discourse. SAGE Publications.

Tannen, D. (Ed.) (1993). Gender and conversational interaction. Oxford University Press.

Thorne, B., & Henley, N. (Eds.) (1975). Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Newbury House.

Tracy, K., & Eisenberg, E. (1990) Giving criticism: A multiple goals: A case study. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 24, 37–70. DOI:

Vicente, A. (2009). Gender and language boundaries in the Arab world. Current issues and perspectives. Estudios De Dialectology Norteafricana Y Andalusí, 13, 7–30.




How to Cite

Muslah, A. F. ., & Abbas, N. F. . (2023). Gendered Social-interactional Contexts in Educational Institutions in Iraq . Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(2), 191–202.



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-01-08
Accepted 2023-04-28
Published 2023-05-07