Language and Gender: Further Observations

Key terms:

Sex; biological facts about men and women

Gender; (1) grammatical groupings      (2) characters based on their sex

Representation; constructing stories from language (including images) about what people are like

Deficit model; It suggests that women need to change because their language is not good enough

Fun Facts:
  • According to research e.g. Fishman 1990, it is found that the average amount of time for which a man will speak has found to be approximately double the amount a women speaks, especially in mixed-sex conversations.
  • A women’s approach to conversation tends to be co-operative, whereas a man’s approach tends to be competitive.
  • American researchers Zimmerman and west (1975) taped several case studies. One of the big findings was that men interrupted 96% of the time whereas women only interrupted 4%. Analysis of parent-child conversations shows that fathers tend interrupt the mode and more to daughters than sons. I believe this is because our society still has stains of the old society where sons were more important and valuable than daughters.
  • Topical differences between men and women exist. Simply, women talk more about ‘feelings’ and men talk more about ‘things’
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