Contesting the existence of male speech stereotypes within the communicative context of nursing: a case of Bonda mission hospital, Zimbabwe
This article reported the findings of a case study carried out on 3 male nurses at Bonda
mission hospital in Inyanga, Zimbabwe. The paper tested the applicability of male
speech stereotypes to the communicative context of nursing. It investigated
occupational discourse of male nurses specifically looking at the linguistic feature of
hedging. The aim is to find out how males linguistically behave in the domain of
nursing. Data was collected through audio recorders and interviews were used to
establish the functions of hedges as used by the male nurses. This study employed the
Community of Practice approach in explaining linguistic behaviour. Findings from the
study revealled that in contrast to existing speech stereotypes that men are authoritative,
commanding, harsh and not polite, male nurses in this study were found to use hedges
to mitigate orders, commands and requests, to signal collaboration and
cooperativeness, to maintain a relationship of solidarity, to maintain a relationship of
closeness, and for politeness reasons. Conclusion drawn from the research therefore is that male speech stereotypes are not applicable to the communicative context of nursing
and that linguistic behaviour is governed by the context of use and not necessarily gender.
Key Words: Community of Practice, Gender, Hedging, Linguistic Behaviour, Stereotype
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