Language Defines Gender

This essay has a total of 1155 words and 5 pages.

Language Defines Gender


How do men and women communicate clearly when most of their ways of communicating are so different? In today's society language plays a key role in defining gender by phraseology, vocabulary, and also their nonverbal vocabulary. Each one of these different types of ways of communicating is prominently different between men and women.

Webster's defines phraseology as "a choice and pattern of words." Many studies have been done on the differences between men and women's phraseology. It has been noted in many different studies that men tend to talk much more than women do. This was proven true in a study that Lynette Hirshman did in 1974 (Glass 33). It has also been proven that women tend to speak faster than men; this is due to the fact that women tend to be interrupted more often than men are, and also have the ability to speak more clearly, precisely, and more quickly than men can. In one study it was found that women spoke for an average of three minutes describing a painting, as opposed to the thirteen-minute average it took men to describe it. (Glass 33) Women tend to be more detailed when describing events, persons, places or things. Linguist Robin Lakoff states in her book, Language and Woman's Place, women use greater description when describing colors. (Glass 31) Women notice more detail than men causing women to be more perceptive; they notice things such as tone of voice, facial expression, and body language. Being able to pick up on those three types of communicating helps women better understand what is actually being said in a conversation.

Men and women's styles of communicating are close to being directly opposites of one another. Men tend to be louder more aggressive speakers; they mumble many of their words and tend to be sloppy in their pronunciation of words. Men tend to use loudness when emphasizing words instead of inflection and pitch to emphasize points. According to Webster's, inflection is "a change in the tone of the voice," or "the change of form in a word to indicate number, case, tense, etc." (Glass 51) Women tend to use pitch and inflection more so than men do. Men have a tendency to speak in a lower tone and rarely change from that tone to any others. Women on the other hand speak in five different tones, which makes them sound more emotional. (Glass 50) Women also speak more fluidly, which makes them easier to listen to, where men use choppier more fragmented sentences. Women are more soft spoken than men are, which allows men to monopolize most conversations. (Glass 51) Men are much less verbose and they are more direct in getting their point across. Women tend to "beat around the bush" when getting a point across; this causes men to become very agitated while listening to a woman tell a story. Men talk much slower than women do and are more silent during conversational lulls. (Glass 52) Men also have a tendency to make more direct accusations and statements. (Glass 51) Men also answer questions with declaration, ("It's two o'clock."), where as women answer with a question. Men are more commanding in their style of speech, however women ask for things to be done in a more polite manner and usually in terms of endearment, ("Honey, would you please..."). (Glass 53) Men also make more declarative statements, instead women tend to make more tentative s

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