Language and the Social Construction of Gender Roles: Roles in Transition This book reports results of an investigation into how language reflects the sociocultural perceptions of women and men in the Shona society of Zimbabwe as evidenced in the language of proverbs, poetry and other language forms. The study sought to identify language about men and women and examine it for evidence about the nature of gender roles. Language relating to different contexts within which Shona women and men interact was identified and analysed syntactically and semantically. It was found that while women were generally valued by society, they were born without value and status. They became valued when they started to be productive and they acquired status through marriage, motherhood and age. Men, on the other hand, were valued and had status from birth. In their interactions, it was found that women were structurally subordinate to a man throughout their life cycle. The book concludes that gender roles are best understood through studying a man and a woman as they perform different roles in different contexts within the environments in which they interact.