An Investigation Into The Language Of Men And Women

1657 words - 7 pages

Through years men and women are considered to be people from different planets. They behave differently; have different habits, world's perceptions and ways of communication. Gender distinction plays, probably, the most significant role in the way of thinking of an individual - men's way of thinking greatly differs from women's. Therefore, since language performance is a purposeful reflection of one's power of apprehension, the manner of speech and its content among opposite sexes differs a lot. Ideas and thoughts on this topic have been developed for many years and many researches have been held. During all this period various theories and suggestions have been passing through a long path of development and, finally, stable and unchangeable notion on this subject has appeared. However, time passes and a lot of things change with every new day. What can we say about the language of men and women now? Does it really differ so much? It is necessary to look at this issue closer and deeper in order to answer the question and to understand the aspects of gender differences and similarities in the usage of language.Attitudes to roles of men and women are mostly formed by the society. This process usually enables our unconsciousness - we follow the 'rules' created by the 'crowd', assimilating them as doubtless, and only some people are able to wreck these stereotypes and clichés and investigate something new or 'extraordinary' into life. Thus, since the early childhood boys are taught to be strong, not to cry, and not to express emotions lucidly, while girls are more likely to be much more emotional and tender. Girls are supposed to make a contrast with boys, who usually hide themselves under the veil of steadfastness and pride. These facts, actually, form behavior of boys and girls and also influence their future perception of how men and women should act in their everyday lives. "Boys do not cry" - they should not be like these girls with their strong emotions, 'pink snivels' and feelings. People expect men to be more firm and to use more vulgar words, although nowadays some girls use them more frequently. People tend to seek differences in men and women and try to find proves of their views - they notice situations that support their expectations but avoid those that are controversial. "We actively look for differences, and seek out sources that discuss them" (Cameron, par. 28). Again, time passes and a lot has changed. Many of the thoughts about the difference of the language men and women speak, are just myths, but it is also important to understand which of them are true.First of all, it is essential to consider believes that have been formed for centuries. Many people think men and women are from different worlds, so, that is why they speak different languages and use them differently. Here are several assumptions that many people share.The first and one of the main suggestions is the point that "language and communication matter more to women than to men; women talk more than men" (Cameron, par. 16). However, speaking about the amount of speech, it is necessary to say that research has shown that men talk more overall than women and, at the same time, men and women prevail in speaking in different situations. It depends on the topics discussed and on a group in which a person communicates. For example, in mixed sex-groups and in case of more formal situations men usually speak more than women, but at home men contribute less. Males usually talk more in formal or task-oriented situations while in informal situations men and women contribute quite equally (Eckert; McConnel-Ginet, p. 114-118). It is interesting that, in fact, men also spend more time speaking about social issues than about non-social, such as politics, work and similar topics. These topics are widely spoken by men in the presence of women mostly to impress them. "One significant difference between male and female gossip: men spend much more time talking about themselves" (Fox, par. 31). So, it can't be said that women are always more talkative - this is just one of the prejudices. It is important to consider different situations separately in order to have complete and reasonable view of the situation in general.Secondly, it is considered that women promote solidarity, intimacy and strengthening of closer relationship while men try to be more independent and are interested in autonomy, but, in fact, this statement is a little bit biased. Men sometimes want intimacy and women want autonomy, but they think that they should follow norms which are considered to be proper by the society (Eckert; McConnel-Ginet, p.140-141). So, the society does not only form attitudes towards the roles of men and women, but also develops ways of behavior among different sexes. Despite of it, in today's world women become more and more independent and try to show it to men, who are considered to display autonomy, but, actually, sometimes also want to develop warmer and closer relationship.Another assumption is that "men's goals in using language tend to be about getting things done, whereas women's tend to be about making connections to other people. Men talk more about things and facts, whereas women talk more about people, relationships and feelings" (Cameron, par. 18). According to the analysis of Miami University, men are really more fact-oriented, impersonal and illustrate stronger call for action, they want to find solutions to problems and don't understand women who are inclined to greater self-disclosure and reduction of tension. Quite often these differences in communication become a barrier in the interaction of men and women.There is another point of view, quite related to the previous one, which considers that "men's way of using language is competitive, reflecting their general interest in acquiring and maintaining status; women's use of language is cooperative, reflecting their preference for equality and harmony" (Cameron, par. 19). Miami University has the same vision of this issue, considering men as people who try to express their status and independence, and women as those, who avoid arguments and show support instead. In their childhood boys usually plays in soldiers, imitating wars, where always should be a winner and each of them tries to be the one, whereas most of girls play in dolls, they just interact and cooperate, and there is no possible victor. Then, further in their life, men and women keep these preferences. It is important for men to show their significance, to be a winner, while women value more those who are around them. Females usually try to find compromises and to cooperate with their interlocutors, while males show their power and try to perform better than others.Speaking about differences in men's and women's language, it is also essential to consider the body language. Females are better in receiving and interpreting body language as well, as understanding mismatch between verbal and non-verbal language. At the same time women use body language more skillfully than men and can also "influence communication without seeming to be doing so at all" (Body Language Expert, par. 6). These abilities and skills of females help them to communicate better, to express their thoughts and ideas in a more understandable way. It facilitates better relationship in case when body language is interpreted appropriately, in order to avoid further misunderstandings and problems in communication.Men and women are considered to be people from different planets, are thought to be absolutely different creatures. These beliefs have been formed by the society for many years and now are widely taken into consideration. Some ideas and conclusions about gender distinctions even develop our way of behavior and views of men's and women's roles. Actually, females and males are not as different in some aspects as they seem to be according to various 'rumors' and theories , and it is better to be aware of the similarities as well as of the differences. At the same time, differences do have presence, and since language is one of the crucial points in any relationships, people should find ways to improve their communication. In order to understand each other, men and women should take into consideration the differences between them and to be willing to adapt their manner of interaction to their partner's or interlocutor's one. Despite of all embedded discrepancies and difficulties, the process of verbal communication can be turned into a pleasing 'procedure' of diving deeper into another person's inner world. There should be no impossibilities if the wish to reach something is strong enough. 'No pains - no gains' - respect and tolerance make miracles - two different creatures, one 'from Mars' and another 'from Venus', are able to understand each others thoughts and points of view now.Works cited"Body Language Differences between Men and Women." Body Language Expert. 2007.27 Oct. 2007.http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co.uk/BodyLanguageAndMenAndWomen.htmlCameron, Deborah. "What language barrier?" Guardian. Guardian Unlimited. 1 Oct. 2007. 2007.http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/relationships/story/0,,2180812,00.htmlFox, Kate. "Evolution, Alienation and Gossip. The role of mobile telecommunications in the 21st century." Social Issues Research Center. 2001. 28 Oct. 2007.http://www.sirc.org/publik/gossip.shtmlEckert, Penelope; McConnell-Ginet, Sally. Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003."What are the Language Differences for Men and Women?" Spring 1999. Psybersite. Miami University. 27 Oct. 2007.http://www.units.muohio.edu/psybersite/cyberspace/cyberfamily/fullanalysis.shtml

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