4.0 Conclusion

A Third Wave  feminist linguistics is an anti-essentialist analysis of the way that gender relations are negotiated within particular contexts, but it seems that there needs to be a concern with the way that those local contexts are themselves structured by societal constraints.  Some Second Wave feminist analysis perhaps overgeneralised about the nature of systematic language patterns such as sexism, but unless we consider the wider context, above the level of the community of practice, we risk formulating a feminism without politics. We therefore need to consider the possibility of, not necessarily a Fourth Wave feminism as Kaplan (2002) has suggested, but a form of analysis which combines the global concerns of Second Wave feminist analysis with the local concerns of Third Wave feminism, using perhaps modified quantitative analysis alongside more contextualised qualitative studies, as Swann (2002) has suggested.  Thus, instead of viewing these two positions as antagonistic, we will be able to see their complementarity, and draw on them to help us to theorise and analyse gender and language more adequately.

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