Language can see that Jasmine shows the

Language and Gender Investigation
I have chosen to investigate how gender affects the language used by the characters in Disney classics, these movies will include; Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Princess and the Frog (2009). I have chosen two movies from the 20th century and one from 21st century to see how Disney’s portrayal of women has changed over the years and how the character’s language has been affected because of that. 
Throughout the movie, we can see that Jasmine shows the most opposition to being told what to do by her male counterparts, however even when she asserts power over those around her she tends to be ignored by them and forced into what they wish for her instead. If we take for example Jasmine and her father, the Sultan, discussing her having to get married we see her resistance towards the idea, however, her protests are completely shut down by her father.
The Sultan: Dearest, you’ve got to stop rejecting every suitor who comes to call. The law says you must be married by your next birthday.
Jasmine: The law is wrong.
The Sultan: You’ve only got three more days.
Jasmine: Father, I hate being forced into this. If I do marry, I want it to be for love.
The Sultan: I just want to make sure you are taken care of, provided for.
Jasmine: Please, try to understand, I’ve never done a thing on my own (.) I’ve never been outside the castle walls.
The Sultan: But Jasmine you’re a princess.
Jasmine: Then maybe I don’t want to be a princess anymore.

The Sultan’s use of imperatives adds to his power of Jasmine such as the transitive verb “must” used within the first sentence. In this conversation we see the Sultan except his power over Jasmine in many different instances such a the patriarchal verbs “take care of” and “provided for” suggesting that as Jasmine is a woman she needs a prince to come and look after her. Otto Jesperson’s “Language: its nature, development and origin” suggests that women are emotional rather than grammatical and Deborah Tannen’s theory on the six contrasts, in this instance the contrast shown is information versus feeling which shows women use conversation for interdependence rather than independence like men, we can see this in Jasmine’s use of the verb “hate” which could be one of the reasons she is ignored in this instance for showing weakness and vulnerability through her emotions and place within the hierarchy according to her father. 

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However, amongst the times where she does show weakness she also shows great strength when not tolerating those around her trying to control her behaviour and even though men are constantly trying to make decisions for her, she
stands up for herself and goes to verbal attack persistently. This is evident particularly when she is talking to Jafar in these two instances:

Jafar: You’re speechless, I see. A fine quality in a wife.
Jasmine: I will never marry you!

Jafar: Finally, you will bow to me.
Jasmine: We will never bow to you.

In both conversations she the adverb “never” in opposition to Jafar’s commands showing that she will not be forced into doing something she does not wish to do and rebelling against the idea that princesses must do as they are told at all times. This substantiates Jesperson’s idea that women use adverbs too often and supports the deficit model.

She also questions Aladdin’s behaviour when she realises he is not the prince that he is pretending to be but rather the boy from the market that saved her. Using the imperative “tell me the truth” and questioning him in order to get the truth, which ties into Pamela Fishman’s (1990) theory that women ask questions to assert power rather than a weakness contradicting Robin Lakoff’s (1975) hypothesis that women use questions to show hesitancy and insecurity within conversation. 

Jasmine: It’s a shame Abu had to miss this.
Aladdin: Nah, he hates fireworks. He doesn’t really like flying either. Ah that is… Am… Oh no.
Jasmine: You are the boy from the market, I knew it! Why did you lie to me?
Aladdin: Jasmine. I’m… I’m sorry.
Jasmine: Did you think I was stupid?
Aladdin: No!
Jasmine: That I wouldn’t figure it out?
Aladdin: No I… I mean… I … I hoped you wouldn’t. Ah no, that’s not what I meant.
Jasmine: Who are you? Tell me the truth.
Aladdin: The truth?

The Princess and the Frog
Both male and female characters, rather than in the earlier two movies where it was majority the leading woman, in The Princess and the Frog stand up for themselves and openly disagree with others. It is clear that Tiana questions people who offend her on the basis of gender:

Mr. Fenner 1: You can kiss that place goodbye.
Tiana: You know how long it took me to save that money?!
Mr. Fenner 2: Exactly. Which is why a little woman of your background would have had her hands full trying to run a big business like that. Now, you’re better off where you’re at. 
Tiana: Now, wait a minute.
Mr. Fenner 1: Love those beignets, though.
Tiana: Now, now hold on there! You come… Come back…

Here, Tiana tries to make the Fenner brothers understand her situation. When they offend her simply due to the fact that she is “a woman of her background”, she tries to defend herself, but is interrupted in return, supporting O’Barr and Atkins (1980) theory in “Women’s Language or Powerless Language” that it is not gender that affects someone’s language but rather their position in the hierarchy, contradicting Zimmerman and West’s (1975) theory that men are more likely to interrupt strictly because they are men. Although she is ignored, she desperately tries to gain the Fenners’ attention and assert power by using imperatives “now, wait a minute” and “now, now hold on there! You come… come back…” but ultimately fails to do so.
The greatest verbal combat, however, is fought between Tiana and Naveen. They constantly disagree with each other during the first part of the movie and blame each other when things go wrong:

Tiana: Oh, I’m not a princess, I’m a waitress.
Naveen: A waitress? Well, no wonder the kiss did not work. You lied to me! 
Tiana: No, I… I never said I was a princess.
Naveen: You never said that you were a waitress! You… You were wearing a crown! Tiana: It was a costume party, you spoiled little rich boy!

Tiana reacts to being accused of being a liar by calling Naveen a “spoiled little rich boy” she fights back against him after he offends her by claiming she is lying. 

In Aladdin, Jasmine is the character who interrupts others most often, particularly Aladdin. Zimmerman and West (1975) put interrupting down to a person’s gender claiming that in mixed sex conversations men hold 96% of the dominance and are more likely to interrupt, supporting the dominance model. O’Barr and Atkins’ (1980) theory also deals with interruptions however they found that gender does not affect language but rather it’s your position in the hierarchy that determines how you use language. Lastly Geoffrey Beattie (1982) questioned Zimmerman and West’s findings and suggested that rather than interrupting to achieve dominance it could be used to show support and understanding within a conversation.

Aladdin: I wonder what it would be like to live there. And have servants and valets-
Jasmine:                                                                                                                    Oh              sure. People who tell you where to go and how to dress.

In this piece of transcript Jasmine interrupts Aladdin when he is talking about how amazing it would be to live in a castle, this scene is before Aladdin finds out who Jasmine really is so her interrupting him and then proceeding to describe that it’s not all that it seems creates suspicion and gives Aladdin a clue into finding out who she really is. By using the exclamation “oh sure” we get a sense of sarcasm coming through her tone which opposes Geoffrey Beattie’s theory that interrupting could be a sign of support and understanding. However, due to the fact that Jasmine is a princess and Aladdin is a common O’Barr and Atkins theory on interruptions being put down to hierarchy rather than gender as within society she would be higher up the hierarchy than he is. 

The Princess and the Frog

As Beauty and the Beast, a female character, Tiana, is interrupted most frequently in The Princess and the Frog. What differs, however, is that the female characters in this movie also tend to interrupt others very often. This includes not only Tiana, but Charlotte as well, both interrupting others five times each. The following example is to illustrate how Charlotte behaves during conversation:

Charlotte: Oh Tia! Tia, Tia, Tia, did you hear the news? Tell her. Oh, tell her, Big Daddy.
Mr. La Bouff: Oh, yeah. Prince Naveen-
Charlotte:                                                 Prince Naveen of Maldonia is coming to New Orleans! Oh, isn’t he the bee’s knees? Oh! Tell her what you did, Big Daddy. Tell her!
Mr. La Bouff: Well, I invited-
Charlotte:                            Big Daddy invited the prince to our masquerade ball tonight! Giggles. Tell her what else you did, Big Daddy! Go on.
Mr. La Bouff: And he’s staying-
Charlotte: And he’s staying-
Mr. La Bouff: And he’s staying in our house as my personal guest.

Indeed, Charlotte embodies the stereotypic view, and Otto Jesperson’s (1922) theory in “Language: it’s nature, development and origin” as part of the deficit model, that women talk more than men. Here she interrupts her father three times, which demonstrates her linguistic behaviour in general.


Jasmine uses rather polite language throughout- perhaps even being the most polite character in Aladdin. Robin Lakoff (1975) in “Language and Women’s Place” she states that one of the features of women’s language is super polite forms, which coincides with Jasmine and her persistent use of super polite forms, for example:

Jasmine: Oh, excuse me. I’m really, very sorry.

Her use of intensifiers, the adverbs “really” and “very”, also reinforces Lakoff’s theory as she believes this is another feature of women’s language. 

Aladdin also uses a relatively large amount of polite language throughout apologising and thanking different characters multiple times right through the film, although majority apologising to Jasmine, such as;

Aladdin: Thank you, kind sir. I’m so glad you found her.

Aladdin: But no, please! Please, princess, give me a chance.

Aladdin: Jasmine, I’m sorry I lied to you about being a prince.

The character to use the least amount of super polite forms is Jafar, due to the type of character he is the lack of super polite forms not only ties into Lakoff’s theory of it being a feature of women language but also portrays him as impolite and works well with portraying his character as mean and villainous.

The Princess and the Frog

Charlotte utters the word please very often. However, in her case this is not an example of politeness, but rather a strategy she uses whenever she wants something. When she wants a new dress, she begs her father: “I want that one! Please, please, please, please”. In this, and many other cases, thus, please is repeated in quite a rude manner. Other than that, the language used by female and male characters does not differ significantly in terms of politeness in The Princess and the Frog.


Throughout Aladdin the character who shows the most insecurity is actually Aladdin himself, although stereotypically seen as a female characteristic. Aladdin hesitates repeatedly throughout, for example:

Jasmine: It’s a shame Abu had to miss this
Aladdin: Nah he hates fireworks. He doesn’t really like flying either. Ah, that is… am… oh, no
Jasmine: You are the boy from the market, I knew it! Why did you lie to me?
Aladdin: Jasmine, I’m… I’m sorry
Jasmine: Did you think I was stupid?
Aladdin: No!
Jasmine: That I wouldn’t figure it out?
Aladdin: No, I… I mean… I… I hoped you wouldn’t. Ah, no, that… that’s not what I meant
Jasmine: Who are you? Tell me the truth
Aladdin: The truth?

When Aladdin realises he has made a mistake and accidentally revealed to Jasmine that he is in fact Aladdin and not Prince Ali he begins to stumble over his words and hesitate as he tries to correct what he has messed up.

He also repeatedly starts utterances which he does not finish before he rephrases himself. When introducing himself to Jasmine, for instance, he states: “It’s me, Prince Ali… Prince Ali Ababwa”. Shortly after, when Jasmine is introduced to the magic carpet, Aladdin asks her: “You… You don’t wanna go for a ride, do you?” Here, Aladdin assumes that Jasmine does not want to accept his invitation, and he then attaches a tag-question, a stereotypically feminine language feature. It would appear that Aladdin completely lacks confidence since he automatically believes that Jasmine will reject him.

The Princess and the Frog 

Overall the characters from the Princess and the Frog do not show consistent signs of insecurity, only Naveen and that is only when he is talking to or around Tiana.

Naveen: You have had quite an influence on me, which is amazing because I have dated thousands of women… No… Like two, three, just other women. And anyway, listen, you could not be more different, you know? You are… You are practically one of the guys. No, no, no! You are not a guy! Let
me begin again. I’m not myself tonight. Tiana! Sorry, that was loud. This is a disaster.

Naveen: Tiana, I love… The way you light up when you talk about your dream. A dream that… It… It is so beautiful, I… I promise I will do whatever it takes to make it come true.

In both these examples Naveen stutters and rephrases himself after makes multiple errors including saying he has dated thousands of women and calling Tiana a man. However, the insecurity can be explained by the fact that Naveen is in love with Tiana causing him to become nervous around him. In every other instance that we have seen Naveen he has been very confident, egotistical to a certain degree and bossy thus we can see that insecurity is not a consistent linguistic behaviour for Naveen.