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Language and gender observation

Languageand gender observation

Differenceson how males and females communicate have, for long, been constrainedto the syntactic structures in the different speeches taking genderinto consideration. But then there is a need to analyze thedifferences in the way males and females responds to other people’squestions in a conversation (Cameron &amp Coates, 1985). The aim ofthis paper is to examine a short sample of normal conversation tofind out the gender that sent more responses to the question, theperson sending long responses, the differences in the contents of theresponses. It will also explain whether the results would bedifferent in case I was of a different gender and to compare myresults with those of Tennen.

Designof the study

Toinvestigate gender and responses to other people’s questions, aconversation was recorded, transcribed and analyzed to provide datawhereby I will also discuss the objectives. The study recorded wasof the members of a certain company and the members went out for atour.

Motivationof the study

Themotivation behind this study was to know the kind of person regardinggender to approach to get detailed information about something and atthe same time find out if gender determines the kind of response youcan get from others. Many studies say that women provide detailedinformation when addressing men’s questions while men respondclearly to women’s questions as compared to men’s questions.

Descriptionof data

Theconversation recorded was among the workers of a certain companyduring a tour in Japan. I recorded a conversation and collected theirresponses without their knowledge of the purpose of the data since Iwanted to record natural setting responses. The responses werecollected twenty minutes, transcribed and analyzed. Ten responsesfrom four members conversing were collected and analyzed to get theresponses when individuals spoke to a fellow of the similar sex andwhen talking to a person of different sex.

Thecontributors were as follows:

Male1, Male 2, Female 1 and Female 2. The four members recorded werehaving senior positions in the company, and they have known eachother for long.

Transcriptionof data

Female2: what fruits?

Male1: Fruits, bloody costly fruits

Female2: Sure, but then looking at the fruits, they’re always like unique

Male2: Ridiculously expensive, I’ve hardly taken any fruits since I’vestayed here, too expensive

Male1: Yes

Female2: You better start going out specials having some salads.

Female2: Purchase one less vodka in the evening and fruits during the dayhaha

M2:That too can be damn expensive

Female1: Everything is expensive in this place.

Female2: I know we can have certain good looking fruits here.

Analysisof data

Theanalysis of the transcription has been separated into four segments:number of responses per gender, the length of responses per genderand the contents of the responses per gender.

Numberof Responses per gender

Outof the ten responses, male responded four times while the femalesresponded six times. Ideally, this shows a very slim difference inthe level of responses between males and females. Some other factorscan easily influence the variance in some responses but notnecessarily gender.

Thelength of responses per gender

Fromthe collected data there is a very small difference in the quantityof words that men and women utter during their conversation. Somestudies show that women talk 20 percent more than men, but then fromthe collected data, some other factors may be responsible for thelength of a response from any gender but not the type of gender.

Contentsof the responses per gender

Themale and females responses differ in contents in that the femalesconcluded that everything in Japan is expensive since they wanted totry a variety of products during the tour. But then their malecounterparts did not care about the availability of the products. The females gave a more clear opinion on the subject matter than themales. The females gave more factual information on the products theywanted to take while in Japan.

Ithink the results would have been different if the question was askedby a different gender as men and women are believed to ask differentquestions in every situation. For instance, if the conversation wereto begin from a male person the discussion would have taken adifferent direction as the participants would respond differently. My results were similar to those of Tannen in the sense that men wereonly responding to clarify what was being asked (Tannen, 1990). Idon’t think the results of my survey are typical for otherelectronic discussion groups and email correspondences because everyresponse from either the males or females is built from certainfactors and the topic of discussion also matter.


Someclaims are evident from the study for instance the collected datashowed very small differences regarding the amount of responses fromthe males and the females same to the number of words per gender. Itthen means that there could be some factors influencing the amount ofresponses from males and females regarding a subject of discussion.Also, there were no discrepant differences between the directness andassertiveness in the responses about gender (Drass, 1986). This datadoes not support the idea that there are some differences in languageuse regarding gender.


Thepurpose of this research was to carry out an analysis of a sample ofa natural conversation and find out if gender determines the kind ofresponse to any question. From the data above, the difference ofresponses on the subject matters was not necessarily affected by thekind of gender instead, some other factors could be responsible forthe differences in the responses. For instance, the solidarity amongthe participants, in that men and women having the same chances todirect their ideas on the topic and the familiarity with a topiccould also determine the kind of responses.


Cameron,D. &amp Coates, J. (1985). Some problems in the sociolinguisticexplanation of sex differences. Languageand communication5:143-51.

Drass,K. (1986). The effect of gender identity on conversation’. SocialPsychology Quarterly,49(4): 294-301

Tannen(1990). YouJust Don’t Understand. Women and Men in Conversation. BallantineBooks.