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Women’s Language

Women’s and Men's Language Difference

Introduction to Women’s Language

Different research studies have concluded that men and women use language differently. As per the widespread belief “women talks more as compare to the men” (Hall and Bucholtz, 2012). But, most of the vresear4ch studies have found contradict findings about this beliefs. Along with this, different genders discuss distinct topics such as men tend to talk about sports, politics and cars but on the other hand women tend to discuss about child care and personal relationships, etc. Most of the recent work in sociolinguistic has focused upon the variation in conversational styles of men and women (Hellinger and Motschenbacher, 2015). The current essay is also focus on features of different language and their use by women and men. Along with this, it also focuses on impact on use of these features and its impact on confidence and tentativeness.Therefore, major objective of this essay is to assess the claim that women do in fact these such features more frequently than men and these features index lack of confidence and nervousness (Gay, Hicks, Santacreu-Vasut and Shoham, 2015).

Essay will focus on the statement of Robin Lakoff in which she focused on gender differences to syntax, semantic and style. In her research study she identified that women used number of linguistic features which she claimed were used more often by women as compare to men and which shows the expressed uncertainty, lack of confidence and nervousness (Ervin-Tripp, 2014). Essay will focus on different ways by which language is used and linguistic attitude. Further, it also shed lights on association between languages, culture and thoughts. Including this, issue of the women’s language is also considered as major part of this report which will help in understanding the major concepts of this essay. In addition, focus will also be given on use of distinct styles of language used by women. Research will find out that weather there is any difference in the way by which women and men make interactions with others. Therefore, the whole essay will focus on women’s language (De Fina and King, 2011).

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Features of women’s language

Robin lakoff has identified ten elements of women’s language which are frequently used by women during their conversations (Women's Language, 2015). All these features shows the language attitude of women these features are described as under:

  • Hedging: Women use this feature at the timer of conversation which shows the uncertainty and lack of authority. For example, sort of, kind of and I guess, etc (Cook, 2011).
  • Politeness: Women generally use super polite words and forms such as would you please and I would really appreciate it if, etc.
  • Tag questions: In women’s language, tag questions added to the end of the statement and do not change the statement (Kunsmann, 2013). For example, you would do that, wouldn’t you?
  • Emotional emphasis: Women use emotional content and tone that emphasizes on emotions. For example, you are so very kind and I am so grateful to you (Linn, 2014).
  • Empty adjectives: Adding a friendly element in the sentence shows the use of empty adjectives in conversation. Although women do not use any meaningful content at the time of conversation.
  • Correct grammar and pronunciation: Women expect hypercorrect grammar and pronunciation at the time of discussion and conversation. They use sales less as compare to men (Erickson, Lind, Johnson and O'Barr, 1978). For example, I would be very appreciate if you could show me the way of my destination.
  • Lack of humor: women do not use humor and funny words at the time of discussion. So lack of humor is also one of the major feature of women’s language. So, women are poor in telling jokes.
  • Direct quotations: Women generally quoted word which have said by others for example, Rita said that he said, “I won’t to do it. ‘So I said, Why Not?” (Larson, Johnson and Haselton, 2012).
  • Extended vocabulary: Generally, women use extended vocabulary rather than simple language. For example, the wall should be cerise neon pink tracer. So, use of extra vocabulary is also considered as major feature of women’s language.
  • Declarations with interrogative intonation: Generally statement are used by women for asking questions by intonating question mark at the end of the statement (Berger, 2013). For example, that sounds like a good thing to do?

Overall, different features of women’s language has reflected that generally women use different words for different purpose as compare to the men which make different meaning for others. These meanings are difficult to understand by others.  They use some words which shows disagreement and lack of authenticity. Along with this, they use different words with extra politeness and emotions (Baxter, 2012). Women focuses on correct grammar and pronunciation and extended vocabulary.

Sociolinguistics history

Sociolinguistics can be defined as a descriptive study which shows the effects of different aspects of society such as cultural norms, expectations and context on the way of language used. Along with this, it also helps in determining the effects of language used on society (Guillaume, 2014). It also focuses on the use of different language between distinct groups because of various ethnicity, religion, status and gender and income, etc. Some research studies also focuses on the gender in sociolinguistics in which study shows the use of language by different gender. Effects arise on use of language because of the belongingness of the person with different class, social language, restricted codes, culture and beliefs, etc (O'barr, 2014).

History of Sociolinguistics has disclosed that “social determinants has strong association with different language which increases variations for linguistic theory”. In contrast, some of research study has also disclosed some factors about the international; sociolinguistics. Along with this, background research studies have concluded that language is one of the major tool of communication which can be influenced by the place, speaking, people, condition and situation (Elmes, 2013). Place is very important factor because generally it shows the style of language which have used by different people. Including this, sociolinguistics has reflected that gender and sexual identity also affect the use of language because of the culture and society. Overall, sociolinguistics shows the effects of different elements on use of language by different gender men and women (Gay, Hicks, Santacreu-Vasut and Shoham, 2015).

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Different ways by which language is used

Language works as vehicle for the transmission of cultural knowledge and gain access to the contents of others' minds. It provides opportunity to human being to express their attitude change, social perception, personal identity, attribution, and so on. In most of the cases, language involves exchanges of representations of personal feeling in front of others. On the basis of speech practices associated with gender, specific gender roles that are prescribed by society and language used by women can be explored. Communicative behavior of men and women differ in terms of effective use of paralinguistic features such as ‘mhm’ and ‘yeah’. Women generally use them most frequently as compared to men. In order to display active listening and interest, women are mostly used streams of talk", such as "mm" or "yeah". Sometimes, these meanings are difficult to understand by other.  In the context of using questions in conversations, men and women perception are also differed. In addition, it is identified that women use questions more frequently as compared to men. Besides that, female linguistic behaviour characteristically indicates the interest of women to take turns in conversation with others (Krauss and Chiu, 2011). Despite of that, differences between the speech of women and men can be identified in terms of particles that grammarians often described. It can be understood with help of example. Lakoff (1973) taken an example to differentiate between language used by men and women. Researcher used to sentences including (a) “Oh dear, you've put the peanut butter in the refrigerator again” and (b) Shit, you've put the peanut butter in the refrigerator again to understand difference between sentences and language used by gender.  On the basis of above example, it can be predicted that (a) sentence is women's language and another one is men language. It is found that men's language is increasingly being used by women. But on the other hand, due to American masculine image (e.g. homosexuals), women's language is not being adopted by men.

On the other side, on the basis of 'stronger' and 'weaker' expletives, language used by men and women can be differentiated. For example, 'shit', 'oh dear', or 'goodness' words are saying with feeling. These words represent strength of an emotion conveyed in a sentence. While some words and sentences used by women such as 'trivializing’ and Oh fudge, my hair is on fire are meaningless and highly inappropriate. It is found that trait, society's expectations, merely mirroring and nonlinguistic differences are responsible for creating language difference. In addition, Women generally quoted word which have said by others for example, Rita said that he said, “I won’t to do it. ‘So I said, Why Not?,” It create negative impact on listener and persons by whom women is interacting. The above example shows reinforces men's position of strength in the real world in term of expressing opinion and share their thoughts in a meaning sense. In addition, linguistic reasons and an examination of language are the other major factors which are responsible for women denied equality partially. From the critical comparison between sentence and language used by women and men, it is clear that woman may freely use the neutral words without any risk (Talbot, 2010). For example, feminine an advertising executive use express her idea with other by using different expression such as raised eyebrow and giving reaction using "mm" or "yeah sentences.

Linguistic attitude

Linguistic can be defined as a scientific study of language and it has three different aspects which are language form, language meaning and language in context. Linguistic attitude can also be defined as feelings of people about their own language and variety of other languages of other people. There are some basic assumptions about the language attitude which have disclosed by historical research studies (Language Attitudes, 2015). These are described as under:

  • Women talk too much.
  • Children cannot speak or write properly any more.
  • Black children are verbally deprived.

All these assumptions help in understanding behavior of individuals. Analysis of the language attitude helps in determining the emotions of women. Attitude of linguistic can be affected by the different factors of society such as culture, thought and beliefs, etc. Along with this, attitude shows that traits of speaker or women such as height, looks, intelligent, dependability, leadership, sociability and character, etc (The Domain of Linguistics: An Overview, 2015). Attitude of women can be determined by analyzing their grammar, vocabulary and sentence framing ways. Including this, different ways of using language also help in determining the attitude of women at the time of conversation.

Association between languages, culture and thoughts

Language is one of the important elements of culture which help in understanding the human life (Erickson, Lind, Johnson and O'Barr, 1978). Women use this element in different manner which is very difficult to understand by men. Different research studies have concluded that language and culture are interrelated. Verbal expressions of individuals help in analyzing the culture of them. Along with this, language plays important role in conveying culture, norms, values and beliefs among others. Some articles has denoted that culture hiding languages. Women uses language as a primary weapon of communication. It helps in reflecting their personality and culture (The Relationship between Language and Culture, 2010). But sometimes due to the powerful and powerless language of women it is very difficult to get relationship between culture, thought and language of women.

Issue of the women’s language

As per the research study of Robin, women’s language is associated with the different issues such as uncertainty, politeness, lack of confidence and tentativeness, etc. As per the result of Gender and interaction theory, it is clear that interest, wants, needs and goods are the major causes affect language used by women to communicate with men. In addition, female pattern of speech, less standard use of forms of English, responsibility to initiate conversations and vast majority of questions asked by women are the major issues associated with the language by women during interaction. Despite of that, Cross linguistic examination explored that grammar, use of vocabulary, convey negative attitudes and personal use of pronouns are the other major weakness which are responsible for creating language issue for women in society (Lakoff, 2009).  In addition, linguistic reasons, emotions, use of adjectives such as adorable, charming, divine and so on are the other problems associated with language used by women in their interaction. Despite of that, women movement made sexism in language occurs as political issue and reflects their point of view. It may be occurred due to several reasons such as asymmetric between pairs of genders differentiated term, generic sense, negative connotations and change the meaning of original word are the other major issues which are attached with the language used by women during personal communication and interaction with each other (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet, 2013). All these issues are described as under:

Uncertainty: This is the major issue of the women’s language which occur due to the different ways and styles of language use. Sometimes, women uses different hedge which shows uncertainty and lack of authority (Feminist Philosophy of Language, 2010). These words are used by women in case of uncertain knowledge on some basic subject. Sometimes, it shows error in making communication with others. Therefore, uncertainty is one of the major issues of the women’s language. For example, women use this sentence “Well, I sort of looked at him, and then he kind of looked back. Then I guess I kept looking”. This sentence shows the uncertain knowledge of women as well as it also shows disagreement with non-absolute language (Larson, Johnson and Haselton, 2012).

Politeness: As per the above analysis of the women’s language, female personality use huge polite words at the time of making discussion and conversation with other people. For example, do excuse me, but I really appreciate it if you could take a little time to help me. This statement shows the extra politeness of women. Sometimes it creates problem for other persons at the time of communication (De Fina and King, 2011).

Lack of confidence: women’s language is less forcefully as compare to men because men use bad language which creates force on other persons. So, less forcefulness of language shows the lack of confidence among women. Along with this, women asks lots of questions which also shows the low level of confidence. In contrast, men interrupt more to women at the time of conversation which increases the use of unnecessary words and hedge and tag questions which also reduce the confidence among women. In addition, women’s language include lots of instance and examples which also affect confidence of women (Kunsmann, 2013). Therefore, different ways of language used shows the lack of confidence among women.

Tentativeness: Women’s are more tentative as compare to men at the time of using different words in conversation. It occurrence sue to the use of words more frequently as compare to men. Including this, women uses extra polite and friendly words at the time of conversation which shows that lack of confidence or high nervousness of threating others by words. So, they use such kind of words which helps in maintaining effective communication with people (Ervin-Tripp, 2014). Therefore, tentativeness is also one of the major problem in women language.

Interrupting behavior: It has be concluded by men interrupt others more than women. Analysis of the women’s language has reflected that women get interrupted more than men. Therefore, it can be concluded that women’s language is less interruptive as compare to men but she get more interruption at the time of conversations (Women's Language, 2015).

Conversational feedback: Women do not provide appropriate feedback to their partner at the time of conversation as compare to men. Therefore, women’s language do not show effective conversational feedback to other women.

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Major factors responsible for creating difference in the way by which women and men make interactions with others

There are difference factors which include gender cultures, socio-cultural phenomenon and communication styles are the major factors which create differences in the way by which women and men interact with each other. Besides that, gender base differences such as women are more emotional and intuitive as compared to men and highly intensive language” to persuade others etc. also influence personal interaction of gender in their daily life. Gender-based factor is responsible for creating interaction issue during personal interaction with attorneys and business people (Craver, 2003). In addition, difference between men and women during personal interaction can be highlighted on the basis of competitive situations, comfortable, self-confidence and intrinsic factors such as diligent work and intelligence etc. On the based on research studies of the brain done up to now, it can say that on the basis of various factors which include brain size (women brain is 8% smaller than men’s), multi-tasking, social thinking & interactions (women are better), emotions and math skills (Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” which is larger in men), difference in the way by which women and men interact with each other can be differentiated (Stone, 2009). Along with these factors, language (women are are more attuned to words and sounds), memory (Women generally have better memory than men), sense of direction and risk& rewards (Men has a brain wired for risk-taking) are the other causes responsible for creating difference in interaction between men and women candidates.

CONCLUSION

The current research report has concluded that women use language in different style as compare to men which shows that lack of confidence and tentativeness among women. The current research report has also described different features of the women’s language such as hedge, tag questions, Politeness, Emotional emphasis, Empty adjectives, Correct grammar and pronunciation, Lack of humor, Direct quotations, Extended vocabulary and Declarations with interrogative intonation. All these features increases different issues such as Uncertainty, Politeness, Lack of confidence, Tentativeness, Interrupting behavior and Conversational feedback.

REFERENCES

  • Baxter, J., 2012. Women of the corporation: A sociolinguistic perspective of senior women's leadership language in the UK. Journal of sociolinguistics,16(1). pp.81-107.
  • Berger, S. G., 2013. Women's words: The feminist practice of oral history. Routledge.
  • Cook, H. M., 2011. Are honorifics polite? Uses of referent honorifics in a Japanese committee meeting. Journal of Pragmatics. 43(15). pp.3655-3672.
  • De Fina, A. and King, K. A., 2011. Language problem or language conflict? Narratives of immigrant women’s experiences in the US. Discourse Studies. 13(2). pp.163-188.
  • Eckert,P. and McConnell-Ginet, C., 2013. Language and Gender. Cambridge University Press.pp.120-125.
  • Erickson, B., Lind, E. A., Johnson, B. C. and O'Barr, W. M., 1978. Speech style and impression formation in a court setting: The effects of “powerful” and “powerless” speech. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 14(3). pp.266-279.
  • Ervin-Tripp, S., 2014. Social Psychological Perspectives: Selected Papers from the First International Conference on Social Psychology and Language held at the University of Bristol, England. Elsevier.
  • Gay, V., Hicks, D. L., Santacreu-Vasut, E. and Shoham, A., 2015. Decomposing Culture: Can Gendered Language Influence Women’s Economic Engagement?. Fox School of Business Research Paper. Pp.15-046.
  • Guillaume, L., 2014. Japanese Modernity and" Women's Language.
  • Hall, K. and Bucholtz, M., 2012. Gender articulated: Language and the socially constructed self. Routledge.
 
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