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Presented by: Monica Thorpe and Cassie Fredendall Men and Women in Conversation 2 May 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented by: Monica Thorpe and Cassie Fredendall Men and Women in Conversation 2 May 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 presented by: Monica Thorpe and Cassie Fredendall Men and Women in Conversation 2 May 2007

2  To determine the different roles that men and women play in conversation  To examine the reasons why they play those roles  To see if what we are reading connects with the opinions of people we interviewed Objectives

3 A Look Back... A woman’s tongue wags like a lamb’s tail. (English proverb) The North Sea will sooner be found wanting in water than a woman at a loss for a word. (Jutland's proverb) “The vocabulary of a woman as a rule is much less extensive than that of a man.” (Jespersen, 1922) A whistling sailor, a crowing hen and a swearing woman ought all three to go to hell together. (American proverb) Many women, many words; many geese, many turds. (English proverb) “One tongue (language) is sufficient for a woman.” (Milton) Silence is the best ornament for a woman. (English proverb)

4 Questions 1.In one-on-one conversations between men and women, who talks more? Why do you think this?In one-on-one conversations between men and women, who talks more? Why do you think this? 2.In social groups with both men and women present, who talks more? Why do you think this?In social groups with both men and women present, who talks more? Why do you think this? 3.What kind of role does each sex play in a one-on-one conversation (who talks, who listens, who questions, who lectures)? 4.How can you tell if the opposite sex is listening to you? 5.How often do you feel the opposite sex listens to you? How often do you feel the same sex listens to you? 6.In one-on-one conversations between men and women who interrupts more?In one-on-one conversations between men and women who interrupts more? 7.Do men and women view conversation differently? What is the purpose of conversation for each sex? 8.Would you rather tell your problems to a man or a woman? How would you expect each sex to react?

5 Who talks more one-on-one? Who talks more one-on-one?

6 Who talks more in mixed groups? Who talks more in mixed groups?

7 Who interrupts more? Who interrupts more?

8 Vocabulary  Sociolinguistics: the study of language in its social context  Stylistic Variation: in different social contexts an individual will speak in different ways  Social Variation: speakers who differ from each other in terms of age, sex, social class, and ethnic group will also differ from each other in speech, even in the same social context  Vernacular: speech used spontaneously among people who know each other well

9 Women as a Social Group

10 Accept (Inferior Status)  Intra-group comparison: women compare themselves with other women in order to achieve a positive self- image, areas of comparison may include things such as cooking, sewing, child-care, and personal appearance  Tokenism: join superior group, a women will attempt individually to leave the women’s group and become accepted by men, a woman who operates successfully in the men’s world and for all purposes becomes a man, this may occur in business circles and politics

11 Reject (inferior status)  Assimilation: women assimilate into the dominant group, may use deeper voices, swear and use taboo language, adopt a more aggressive style, etc.  Redefining negative characteristics: women change negative images into positive ones, stress the value of stereotyped female qualities (gentleness, caring, etc) and point out that male qualities (assertiveness, aggression, etc) are not always socially useful  Create new dimensions for comparison: women groups with no clear leaders, do not follow male norms

12 The Differences: Body Language Men  Take up more physical space when sitting or standing, with arms and legs stretched out away from their body  Gesture away from the body  Assume more reclined positions when sitting and lean backward when listening  Approach women more closely in terms of their personal space Women  Take up less physical space, sitting with arms and legs toward their body  Gesture toward the body  Assume more forward positions when sitting and lean forward when listening  Do not approach men as closely in terms of their personal space

13 The Differences: Facial Expressions Men  Tend to cock their head to one side and look at the other person from an angle when listening  Provide fewer facial expressions in feedback and fewer reactions  Display frowning and squinting when listening  Stare more in negative interaction Women  Tend to look at the other person directly facing them with their head and eyes facing forward when listening  Provide more facial expressions and more reactions  Display smiling and head nodding when listening  Lower their eyes more to avert gaze in negative interaction

14 The Differences: Speech Patterns Men  Speak in a louder voice  Use loudness to emphasize points  Sound more monotonous in speech; use approximately 3 tones when talking  Interrupt others more and allow fewer interruptionsinterruptions  Disclose less personal information about themselves  Make direct accusations (“You don’t call.”) Women  Speak in a softer voice  Use pitch and inflection to emphasize points  Sound more emotional in speech; use approximately 5 tones when talking  Interrupt others less and allow more interruptions  Disclose more personal information about themselves  Make more indirect statements; use why, which sounds like nagging (“Why don’t you ever call?”)

15 The Differences: Speech Patterns, cont. Men  Make more direct statements  Use less intensifiers  Make more declarative statements  Use more interjections when changing topics  Ask fewer questions to stimulate conversation  Rarely discuss their personal life in business  Swear more Women  Make more indirect statements  Use more intensifiers, such as few, so, really, much, quite  Make more tentative statements and use “tag endings” or upward inflections which make statements sound like questions  Use more conjunctions when changing topics  Ask more questions to stimulate conversations  Establish more business relationships by discussing their personal life  Swear less than men Excerpted from the book He Says, She Says: Closing the Communication Gap Between the Sexes by Dr. Lillian Glass. Putnam, 1992.

16 Who Interrupts More?

17 Why we talk... “F or most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport : a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships. Emphasis is placed on displaying similarities and matching experiences.” “F or most men, talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order. This is done by exhibiting knowledge and skill, and by holding center stage through verbal performance such as storytelling, joking or imparting information.” Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, 77.

18 Hope for the future “What is the hope for the future? Must we play out our assigned parts to the closing act? Although we tend to fall back on habitual ways of talking, repeating old refrains and familiar lines, habits can be broken. Women and men both gain by understanding the other gender’s style, and by learning to use it on occasion.” -Deborah Tannen

19 Bibliography Clark, Virginia P., Escholz, Paul A., and Rosa, Alfred F. Language: Readings in Language and Culture. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, Coates, Jennifer. Women, Men and Language. New York: Longman, Glass, Lillian. He Says, She Says: Closing the Communication Gap Between the Sexes. New York: Perigee Books, Tannen, Deborah. You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: Ballantine Books, Tannen, Deborah. Gender and Discourse. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.


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