Tuesday, 6 October 2015

GENDER AND LANGUAGE



Gender: a social construct (within the fields of cultural and gender studies, and the social sciences.General usage of the term gender began in the late 1960s and 1970s, increasingly appearing in the professional literature of the social sciences. The term helps in distinguishing those aspects of life that were more easily attributed or understood to be of social rather than biological origin (see e.g., Unger & Crawford, 1992).

Some of theorists and researchers though have find that some of significant difference between men and women speak. 

Content

On average men and women discuss different range of topics.Certain topics were common to both gender. Female friends spent much time discussing personal and domestic subjects, relationship problems, family health and weight food and clothing, men and other women. Women were more likely to gossip about close friends and family. By contrast men spent more time  gossiping about sports figures and media personalities. 

Reason for communicating    

Men discussions involve greater amount of joking and good natured teasing. By contrast women's conversations focus more frequently on feelings, relationships and personal problems.      Women use conversation  to pursue social needs. Female speech typically contain statements showing support  for the other person, demonstrations of equality and efforts to keep the conversation going.

Conversational style

Women ask more questions. Women's speech that is less powerful and more emotional than men. Women's talk was judged more aesthetic where as men's talk was seen as more dynamic, aggressive, and strong.                                                      
 According to Lakoff, women’s talk has the following properties: 1) A large set of words specific to their interests: e.g. colour words like magenta, shirr, dart (in sewing), etc. 2) “Empty” adjectives such as divine, precious, lovely, cute, etc. 3) Tag questions and rising intonation in statement contexts: What’s your name dear? Mary Smith? 4) Use of hedges 5) Use of intensive “so” 6) Hyper correct grammar: women are not supposed to talk rough 7) Super-politeness 8) Ask more questions  .  Women speak a language of connection and intimacy.  Men speak a language of status and independence

Boys: 
• Tend to play in large groups that are hierarchically structured • Their group has a leader • 
Status is negotiated via orders, or telling jokes/stories 
• Games have winners and losers 
• Boast about skills, size, ability 
Girls:
 • Tend to play in small groups or in pairs • 
The center of a girl’s social life is a best friend • Within the group, intimacy is the key • Differentiation is measured not by status, but by relative closeness • Many of their activities do not have winners and losers (e.g. in hopscotch or jump rope, everyone gets a turn). • Girls are not expected to boast (in fact they are encouraged to be humble), or give orders (they would be bossy) Girls do not focus on status in an obvious way. They just want to be liked.

Myth: Women talk more than men
However:  Research found that men talk more often (Eakins and Eakins): men’s turns 10.66 secs, women’s 3-10 secs at faculty meetings  At academic confernces (Swacker): women 40.7% of the presentations, 40% of audience. But only 27.2% asked questions. There seems to be an asymmetry between private and public speaking—Tannen’s rapport versus report talk                                              

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