Robin Lakoff (*1942)

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Research Interests

  • How words are used, including the confusing and misleading use of words, language and feminism

Notable Ideas

  • Lakoff developed the 'Politeness Principle', with three maxims:
1. Don't impose.
2. Give options.
3. Make the receiver feel good.

Academic Life

Robin Tolmach Lakoff is a feminist and Professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Her writings have become the basis for much research on the subject of women's language.

Her most famous work is Language and Woman's Place (1975), which introduced many ideas about women's language into the field of sociolinguistics that are now commonplace, such as women's greater use of tag questions as compared to men's speech.

Main Publications

  • Lakoff, Robin (1975). Language and Woman's Place, New York: Harper & Row.
  • Lakoff, Robin (1984). Face value: the politics of beauty, Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Lakoff, Robin (1985). When talk is not cheap. With M. Aftel. Warner.
  • Lakoff, Robin (1990). Talking power. Basic Books.
  • Lakoff, Robin (1993). Father knows best: the use and abuse of therapy in Freud's case of Dora. With J. Coyne. Teachers College Press.
  • Lakoff, Robin (2000). The Language War. University of California Press.

Categories: People