- speak less frequently
- show they are listening by using minimal responses "mm" "yeah"
- speak more quiwtly than men and tend to use the higher pitch range of their voices
- use hyper-correct grammar and pronounciation: Standard English and clear enunciation
- use super-polite forms: "would you mind..." "I'd appreciate it if..." "...if you don't mind"
- use tag questions "You're going to dinner, aren't you?"
- use euphemisms more than men
- use indirect commands and requests "My, isn't it cold in here?"
- use modal constructions "would" "should" "could"
- avoid slang and coarse language or expletives "Oh dear" rather than "****"
- lack a sense of humour: women don't tell jokes well and don't understand punch line jokes.
- use more reduplicated forms "itsy bitsy" "teeny weeny"
- talk a lot
- use half-finished sentences because they speak before they have thought about what they will say
- link sentences with 'and' because they are emotional rather than grammatical
- use adjectives such as 'pretty' and 'nice' too much. They are also fond on saying "so pretty" "so nice"
- use adverbs too much and tend towards hyperbole
- have a smaller vocabulary than men - the words they use are the 'indispensable small change of a langauge'
- know their smaller vocabulary so well that they are more fluent in speaking & less hesitant than men, who are searching for the percise word in their large vocabularies
Zimmerman and West
- In mixed sex conversation men are more likely to interrupt than women.
- both parents interrupt daughters more than sons
- fathers interrupt more than mothers
- men deny equal status to women
- dominate mixed sexes conversations via interruptions and overlaps, thus disregard womens status, and silencing them. This refelects male dominated society.
- conversation between the sexes sometimes fails, not because of anything inherent in the way women talk, but beacuse of how men respond, or don't respond.
- women ask questions because of the power of these, not because of their personality weaknesses
- in mixed-sex language interactions, men speak on average for twice for twice as long as women
- men will often reject a topic of conversation introduced by women while women will accept the topics introduced by men
- men discuss 'male' topics e.g. buisness, sport, politics, economics
- women are more likely to initiate conversation than men, but less likely to make the conversation succeed.
- women are more personal and men allow 'experts' to take the floor
- talk is central to women's friendships
- Womens competitive discourse:
- topic and topic development - women trypically choose to talk about people and feelings rather than things. Topics are developed slowly, building on others' contributions and arriving at consensus
- Minimal responses - active listenership and support are signalled subtly rather than overtly
- Hedges - used to encourage discussion and to avoid appearing challenging or threatening
- Questions - interrogative forms are used to encourage participation rather than to seek information
- turn-taking - overlapping conversation aids cooperation and topic development. The evidence suggests that women and men do ursue different interactive styles and that men seek to dominate control; adversely, women tend to offer support via minimal responses
- status vs. support
- independence vs. intimacy
- advice vs. understanding
- orders vs. proposals
- conflict vs. compromise
Status versus Support
- men grow up in a world in which conversation is competitive
- men seek to achieve upper hand or to prevent others from dominating them
- for women, talking is often a way to gain confirmation and support for their ideas
- men see the world as a place where people try to gain status and keep it
- women see the world as a "network of connections seeking support and consensus"
Independence versus intimacy
- women often think in terms of closeness and support, and struggle to preserve intimacy
- men, concerned with status, tend to focus more on independance
- these traits can lead women and men to starkly different views of the same situation
a woman would check with her husband before inviting a guest to stay - because she likes telling friends that she has to check with him. the man invites a friend without asking his wife first, because to tell the friend he must check amounts to a loss of status.
Advice versus understanding
- to many men a complaint is a challenge to find a solution instead of sympathy
Interruptions and overlapping - TANNEN
- interruption is not the same as merely making a sound while another is speaking
- such a sound can be supportive and affirming - which Tannen calls cooperative overlap, or it can be an attempt to take control of the coversation - an interruption or competitive overlap