Chapter 5. Variation in address forms for Nigerian married and unmarried women in the workplace

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This chapter analyzes address forms used for married and unmarried women among academic and non-academic members of a team of university staff in a Nigerian workplace. It examines how identities are constructed for women in relation to ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ occupational status, and, in particular, how they are categorized or positioned in formal settings. Findings indicate a measure of gender equality in the patterns of address forms used for women, although the traditional categorizing of women on the basis of marital status remains. The traditional use of Mrs is widespread, with some subtle resistance by younger, highly educated women professionals. The study underscores the importance of cultural specificity, as well as possibility of (some) sociolinguistic universals in relation to language use and gender.


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