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Gender Differences in Communication

Linguistics project exploring the gender differences in stranger communication
by

James Weiler

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of Gender Differences in Communication

Bethany Morrison, Jennifer Barry, James Weiler Gender Differences in Retail-Environment Communications In a retail environment, women between the ages of 25-55 will exhibit increased politeness and formality when initiating communication to a stranger compared to men of the same age group. Politeness Principle
Tact Maxim, Generosity Maxim, Approbation Maxim, Modesty Maxim, Agreement Maxim, Sympathy Maxim
(“The Principles Of Pragmatics”, Leech 1983)


Men’s Speaking Strategies
More assertions & vulgar expressions, aggressiveness
“Boys will be boys”
(“Language and the Sexes”, Frank and Anshen’s)
Women's Speaking Strategies
Euphemisms, politeness, apologetic
(“Differentiation of Male and Female Speech Styles”, Olena Goroshko)
Why Men Hate Asking For Help
Competitiveness, displaying skill
“You-know-more-than-I-do” position
(“Gender Differences In Speech Behavior.“)
Why Women Don’t Mind Asking For Help
Cautious, seek cooperation & organization
Get others’ input when making decisions
(“Language and Gender: Women’s Ways of Talking”, Connor)
"Target" Group of Subjects
Men & Women Between 25-55
Must initiate communication
Complete strangers to researcher Research Location
Target Exton
201 Sunrise Boulevard
Exton, PA 19341
Research Method
Gathered data through personal observation
Customer initiated conversation
Personally determined interaction as “informal,” “indifferent,” and “formal”
Informal – Impersonal language use (ie. Slang, Hey, Dude!, Thanks, Man)
Indifferent- Average language use (Excuse me, Thanks)
Formal – Personal language use, businesslike (ie. Excuse me sir, Thank you sir)
Tallied men and women communication seven nights over span of nearly two weeks, as evidenced on graphs
Research Improvement Possibilities
Narrowing age group
Using a female observer
Have a committee determine the categorization of subjects' communiciation
Research other retailers
Lengthen the observation time to incorporate possible mood fluctuations from stressful holidays, etc.
Works Cited
"Politeness and Gender." Department of Linguistics - University of Oregon. Web. 20 Apr. 2010. <http://linguistics.uoregon.edu/explore/socioling/gender.html>.
“Gender Differences In Speech Behavior." EBSCOHOST. Mar. 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.
Goroshko, Olena. "Differentiation In Male and Female Speech Styles." Research Support Scheme. 31 Aug. 1997. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://rss.archives.ceu.hu/archive/00001011/>.
Connor, Ulla. "Language and Gender; Women's Ways of Talking." Ebscohost. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://74.125.45.132/search?q=cache:i-YEzy2K5b8J:www.iupui.edu/~icic/Women%27s%2520Language%2520presentation,%2520Feb.2005.doc+Language+and+gender%3B+womens+way+of+talking&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us>.
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