Why men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Are there any differences on how women and men talk? This is a question many people ponder on everyday. It is easy to assume that because English belongs to the person who uses it, men and women would likely to talk the same way but that may not be the case. Linguistics experts had proven that shown that men and women communicate in different ways. Speech style, word use, and body language are apparent between men and women. Women focus more on making connections, while men generally focus on public contexts where informative and persuasive talk is highly valued and appreciated.
In the essay “I'll Explain it to you: Lecturing and Listening" by Deborah Tannen, she believes that even though men and women speak the same lingua franca, but their affirmation of support, conversational patterns and body language are very different. In the earlier years of development, Tannen observes that girls use speech to find confirmation and establish intimacy, whereas boys use speech to assert their independence and attain social status (283-5). In a study by psychologist H. M. Leet-Pellegrini who set to find out how men and women communicate with each other and who is more dominant in a conversation. Tannen 284). When women are listening, they will show support by saying things like “Yeah” and “That’s right”, even though they are more knowledgeable than the men on that particular topic (Tannen 283). However, this may not be the case for men. Tannen states that when it is the other way around, men tend to say something like “So you’re the expert. ” (283). It showed that when women has superior amount of knowledge than the men, “It will sparked resentment, not respect”, and because of that "Women are inclined to play down their expertise rather than display it. " (Tannen 283).
Women are scared to express their opinion because of what other people will think of them. Tannen feels that men are always trying to grab the leadership role by interrupting, hogging conversations and offering practical information, "My experience is that if I mention the kind of work I do to women, they usually ask me about it. While men have the tendency of explaining and giving me a lecture on language. ” (282-3). In this situation, women find themselves bored and constantly nodding unwillingly as they have been cast as the listener as men lecture them and finds themselves in an asymmetrical conversation (Tannen 288-9).
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Despite the asymmetrical conversation, in the article Party Line by Rachael Rafelman, she states that women want to be heard. She states that, “Listening is a part of girl talk since it is at the very center of reciprocal communication. Woman requires it of each other” (Rafelman 320). When a woman talks she gets personal and involved in the conversation, men do not (Rafelman 317). Men love to talk about business and sports so women find the company of men kind of boring (Rafelman 317). It is why some women may find themselves nodding unwilling throughout the conversation.
Women on the other hand find comfort in offering and receiving comfort and avoiding confrontation. There's certainly some truth to this. We can see this everywhere. Which men haven’t had heard his wife or female collogue say to him, "These shoes are killing me? " When he replies, "Get some new ones then," or “Why are you even wearing them,” she is offended and upset. What he should have said was, "Oh I know exactly how you feel. Mine are killing me too. " Thus, according to Deborah Tannen’s article, considering these facts, no wonder many women grumble about their partners not listening to them (289).
They argument that they made, that the men are not listening to them, is actually because they are not getting the response that they wanted to hear (Tannen 289). Women focus more on making connections; talk and conversation is essential to this process. Women share secrets, relating experiences, revealing problems and discussing options with their close friends. Men generally take another approach; their groups tend to be larger, focusing on activities rather than conversation. Even though men rather focus on activities rather than conversations, it does not mean that men talk less than women.
In Janet Holmes’s essay “Women Talk Too Much,” Janet Holmes claims that even though many people believe that women talk more than men do, men talks just as much, if not even more, especially when talking enhances their status, power or dominant. Even when they hold influential positions, women sometimes find it hard to contribute as much as men to a discussion. ” (300). Women are scared to express their opinion because of what other people will think of them and they know that when a woman is superior knowledge, it will sparked resentment, not respect, as stated in Tannen’s article “I'll Explain it to you: Lecturing and Listening" (283).
Aries found out that found that women who did a lot of talking in a group began to feel uncomfortable; they backed off and frequently drew out quieter members of the group (Tannen 291). It is proven that men talk more than women in public, formal context because they perceive that by participating in the conversation it enhances their status and power. I couldn't agree with this more because I think that men are always trying to impress somebody and therefore men always want center stage to prove that (Tannen 286).
Thus, men generally focus on public contexts where informative and persuasive talk is highly valued and appreciated. In spite of the differences between men and women that Tannen has shown, in the essay “Sex Differences” by Ronald Macaulay argues that there is no such thing and beyond any other semantic topic, there have been countless absurdity about sex differences. Macaulay states, “Such stereotypes are often reinforced by works of fiction” (309). Tannen disagrees to this. There are differences on how men and women communicate.
Tannen said that, “Men’s style is more literally focused on the message level of the talk, while women’s is focused on the relationship or metamessage level (289). For women, she wants the listener to engage, give feedback and be interested in showing attentiveness while men wants the listener to be quietly enrapt on what he is saying. An interesting fact that I found out in Tannen’s article, which I agree, is the way the men and women sit. They say that men are all spread out with their legs wide open, while women gathered themselves in (Tannen 285). This could not be truer.
When I was in the lecturer hall, I just look around in my class and I see all of the guys all spread out and all the girls are like all curled up. Researches have found out that speakers using open-bodied position are more likely to persuade their audience (Tannen 285). In a nutshell we can conclude that men impose and lecture their side of the story when speaking while women on the other hand have a more open exchange of ideas. Besides that, men do not show any body signals indicating that they are listening but women on the other hand give signs that show their affirmation or support.
Lastly, men generally dominate the conversation most of the time while women just listen passively. Work Cited Page. Tannen, Deborah. “I’ll Explain It To You : Lecturing and Listening”. Exploring Language, 11/e. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. New York : Longman, 2005. 281-293. Print. Holmes, Janet. “Woman Talks Too Much”. Exploring Language, 11/e. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. New York : Longman, 2005. 299-305. Print. Rafelman, Rachel. “The Party Line”. Exploring Language, 11/e. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. New York : Longman, 2005. 316-321. Print.
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