© 2003

Language and Gender in the Fairy Tale Tradition

A Linguistic Analysis of Old and New Story-Telling

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 14-32
  3. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 33-58
  4. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 59-111
  5. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 112-146
  6. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 147-195
  7. Alessandra Levorato
    Pages 196-199
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 205-230

About this book


Much research has been done on the social messages conveyed to children reading or listening to fairy tales. In this highly original study, the emphasis shifts from content to linguistic expression. The language and linguistic organization of a dozen versions, old and new, of the Little Red Riding Hood story are analyzed using a variety of theoretical approaches, including Critical Discourse Analysis, Conversational Analysis, Functional Grammar and Critical Stylistics, to uncover the contribution of fairy tales to the discourse of gender relations over time.


gender grammar language

About the authors

ALESSANDRA LEVORATO teaches at the University of Florence, Italy.

Bibliographic information


'Alessandra Levorato's original linguistic approach to Little Red Riding Hood reveals how important it is to examine the discursive practices of fairy tales in general. Her thoughtful and elaborate use of linguistic theory and quantitative analysis to study the significance of word choice and characterization in different versions of Little Red Riding Hood from the seventeenth century to the present enables her to uncover the sexist agenda of the early tales and the critique of this agenda by the more contemporary tales. Dr. Levorato's unique approach has major implications for the study of fairy tales, for she clearly demonstrates how linguistics and ideology are part of the process of composing these tales and have a major impact on the way readers view gender roles and their own particular roles within their own social context. Her work is a major contribution toward understanding the inner workings of fairy tales.' - Professor Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota, USA

'Overall, the book provides a valuable model for using linguistic analysis to illuminate ideological aspects of fairly tales...her [Levorato] analysis draws out the linguistic shape of gender ideology in fairy tale and remidns us of the socializing role that these tales play.' - Valerie Farnsworth, Gender and Education