Oldham Sixth Form College


Manchester Uni Talk

Manchester Uni Talk

On Friday 26th March, Dr. Alex Baratta from Manchester University, along with his student Aishah Rashid, gave a talk to the whole of the AS English cohort covering Gender and Language.

The event, delivered virtually, looked at how gender and language are intrinsically linked together and the idea that language can be gendered subconsciously and consciously.

Students were challenged to think about and compare different cultures, looking at Japanese, Korean and British Culture in particular. For example, the idea that Aegyo-where Japanese women, in particular, put on a display of cuteness which could cover anything from change in vocal tones, to facial expressions and gesticulations, to show appreciation to fellow loved ones or to try to manipulate their partner to do something for them. Accent was looked at too and the idea of Accent Bias-how there should be no preconceived notions, as accent is based on social constructions.

The event was designed to give students a wider understanding of the topics covered through a university style of learning at a higher academic level. Students listened to a lecture given by Dr. Alex Baratta, Senior Lecturer in Language, Linguistics & Communication at The University of Manchester, before being encouraged to ask questions about what had been discussed. The students got a lot from the discussion and asked some very insightful questions, such as

  • ‘Are non-binary communities making language become more gender-neutral?’,
  • ‘Are people choosing to make their accent more neutral?’ and
  • ‘Why is there accent bias?’

Sarah Robinson, English Tutor at OSFC, described the session as “incredibly beneficial for the students” and was proud to see the students apply “their prior learning in class regarding gender to help them understand a deeper, more academic discussion about it.” She hoped the event would also help the students with any ongoing revision for their upcoming assessments within the subject.
Students Amy Senior, Zachariah Hashmi and Taybah Khalil attended the lecture and said, ‘The event ran smoothly, via its online format, and was concluded with Dr Alex Baratta expressing how much he enjoyed returning to OSFC and speaking with the students who attended’.