Do men and women use language differently?
Gender differences in conversations
According to several studies men and women speak differently, during a conversation for example men talk and swear more, they interrupt more also in order to dominate the conversation. Women, on the other hand, are said to be more polite and ask more questions to ensure understanding.
Women also analyse the behaviour of others during a group conversation, for example. Men are more result oriented and when they are told about a problem they want to propose a solution right away, women are more willing to listen.
Women use pronouns such as "I" "us" more frequently than men, who use articles such as "I" "the" to refer to things and objects. Women also speak more in terms of volume than men.
Origin of gender language differences
This would seem to go back to prehistoric times when men had to concentrate on a single task: hunting, so they kept a results-oriented mind with short and direct answers. The women had to look after the children, cook food, take care of the habitat and therefore had to do several tasks, which put human relations at the centre of their lives.
In the 17th century it was essential that young women from well-to-do families learn foreign languages, usually English and Italian, which seemed to help the development of intelligence.
Languages were therefore an integral part of these women's lives and they were then eligible for work as translators, for example.
Different ways of thinking
The difference in language is mainly due to the difference in mentality and way of thinking between men and women. Women are more emotional and reflective while men focus on analyzing the situation and the facts.
Women tell in more detail and use more gestures than men, for example in language exchange, in order to make themselves better understood.
Body language differences
Manspreading is the tendency for men to spread their legs when sitting on public transport in order to take up all the space and show their presence to women. Women, on the other hand, are more closed and take up half as much space as men whether they are sitting or standing.
A woman will have her own feminine gestures such as touching her hair, they adapt their gestures according to the context and the environment.
Foreign language learning
We were often told that women were better at literature and foreign languages than men and that they had a more mathematical mind. It is true that the proportion of women who study languages is higher, around 70%, but there is no indication that they are better.
It would appear that the differences lie in the way of learning and understanding a language. Men are said to use the left part of their brain which is involved in the language process, whereas women use both parts of their brain, but still achieve the same result.
Women also use different tools to learn languages while men use only one.
Is the brain male or female
According to a study it appears that the brain is initially female and then becomes male depending on the gene you carry. But in fact men are derived from women in the first instance. An argument that could make some people pale, if they don't believe you, is the words of Jacques Balthazart, neuroendocrinologist in Liege.
How to understand each other
It is important to understand the differences of each one and not to demand homogeneity from the group for a common work but rather complementarity.
Listen to everyone's ideas and suggestions and understand what is at stake, analyse the situation and not be influenced by sexist prejudices or the opinions of some people.
When a woman is present in high positions surrounded by many men, they tend to see her as a person who has integrated, stood out to reach their level because it is still something that is not frequent enough to become normal.
Since men are pragmatic, analytical and explicit and women are implicit, suggested, implied, it is often very complicated for them to understand each other. Moreover, both tend to think that if they speak the same language they are forced to understand each other and therefore the problem is a failure of the other.
It is often necessary to take the time to listen, to understand that everyone is different and does not have the same language "codes" as we do and we will finally manage to understand each other and live in a less categorical way.
If you too have experienced this during your language exchanges or if you think that opinions are different from one country to the next, then don't hesitate to talk about it with people from all over the world on our Studenz website in the language exchange section.
Written by: Lisa Lambert, Staff Writer
- Learning Languages
- 19 Feb, 2020
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