Some of the most frequently referred to but potentially erroneous stereotypes regarding gendered speaking style differences involve dichotomies. Men are competitive – women are cooperative. Men focus on impersonal topics – women focus on personal topics. Men's speech is to report – women's speech is for rapport. The problem with these stereotypes is that language styles are not mutually exclusive to individual genders. Much of the past language and gender research has been based on analyzing these perceived dichotomies in an effort to challenge or corroborate the stereotypes. This research has shown that language styles are not exclusive to gender and more importantly it has brought to light the fact that language and gender cannot be studied in isolation from other social factors.
[...] Interactional There were some noticeable differences in the interactions between the men in the men's book club and the women in the women's book club, namely; the length of individual floor time and the number of simultaneous utterances. I noted floor time each time an individual spoke for three or more transcribed lines of text and simultaneous utterances were counted each time numerous members of the group spoke at once often in response to something one member had said. The results follow. [...]
[...] Data and Methods The data consists of two recordings; one of a men's book club meeting and one of women's book club meeting. Each recording has an analyzed running time of about 30 minutes. All members of both clubs agreed to the recording and had full knowledge that the meeting was being recorded. One member from each club recorded the sessions for me. My hope was that, if I was not present doing the recordings myself, the members would not focus on the fact that they were being recorded and the meetings would carry on as normal. [...]
[...] Background Unfortunately, there is an absence of linguistic research based on book club discussions and this is an area with immense potential. The book club meeting gives speakers a specific defined focus for their conversations and in turn presents a researcher with a controlled setting for discourse analysis. However, as the only previous research on book clubs has been in regards to the use of reading groups by teachers to improve literacy among school-aged children and to boost student achievement scores, I will turn to Gossip Revisited: Language in All-Female Groups by Jennifer Coates and Gender Identity: Young Men's Talk and the Construction of Heterosexual Masculinity by Deborah Cameron for background information on gendered speaking styles in same-sex groups. [...]
[...] Had the women read the same book as the men or even another current, non-fiction, emotionally charged book, my findings would lead me to believe that there would have been an increase in personal discussions in relation to the book and an overall increase in their use of epistemic modal expressions. Conclusion The data I have collected and analyzed supports both Coates' and Cameron's previous findings about gendered speaking styles in same-sex groups. The data shows different ways that both women and men use cooperative speaking styles and shows that they use some of the same linguistic forms in their individual styles. [...]
[...] Referring back to the interaction examples from the book club meetings, in the men's group speaker A holds the floor for six lines with something that interests the other men, and then the men briefly voice agreement but allow speaker A to carry on for three more lines of text. In the example from the women's club, speaker D speaks for two lines and is supported by a lengthy enthusiastic simultaneous response and then speaker E voices two lines followed by another burst of simultaneous talk. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee