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Differences in language and gender

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Introduction

Differences in language and gender There are many differences in language between male and female. This is why we sometimes do not understand the opposite sex. These differences can be lexical, phonological, grammatical or conversational. There have been many studies into gender and conversational behaviour one of which answers the most common question of who talks the most this was conducted by Fishman '90. He found that in mixed sex conversation, men talk twice as much as women. Although this cannot be generalised to all males and females as many people do not follow the trends. Women are more supportive in their behaviour in conversation. They ask more questions, give more feedback, pay more compliments, start up different topics and they try to bring others into the conversation. ...read more.

Middle

However, in mixed sex conversation, almost all of the interruptions were from men and women hardly interrupted at all. In parent-child conversations, daughters are interrupted more than sons, and fathers interrupt more. Researchers have also conducted studies to find out about topics of conversation. They found that women tend to talk about feelings whereas men talk about 'things.' This means that males tend to talk about sport, information and facts on the other hand, women talk about past experiences and problems. Lakoff and Spender '70 believe that not only do men and women behave differently when turn taking, they also differ when it comes to other aspects of behaviour in turn taking. They have found that men are more likely to ignore Grice's 'maxim of relevance' This means that they do will keep returning to a topic that had finished a few minutes before. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lakoff believes that this could convey that women are uncertain and are not confident but other researches argue against this. Trudgill found that when asked, men claimed that they used more non standard forms of than they actually did. This could show that men are proud of using such language. This means that they desire convert prestige which is a prestige which derives from behaviour that goes against social norms and conventions of socially desirable behaviour. On the other hand, Women seek overt prestige, which attaches to respectable, socially desirable behaviour. There are also differences between the vocabulary that is used. It has been found that male and female equivalents are often uneven, For example the connotations and associations of Mistress and Master. Master means someone who is dominant and superior whereas mistress has sexual connotations and usually means a married man's illicit girlfriend. This is known as lexical asymmetry. ...read more.

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