The study of the relationship between the gender and language has found out many differences in language that occur as a result of the differences in gender of the research groups. These distinctions include the ones of the voice, verbal variations and interpretation of words. Scientists have attributed these dissimilarities to biological, psychological, anatomical as well as brain structure differences between male and female. The following research paper is aimed at finding out if there are any differences in language between men and women. The hypothesis that has been used to facilitate the study is that there exist distinctions in the use, application and interpretation of language between males and females. The paper will also explore the possibility of the existence of different variations in terms of gender and language between English and Turkish languages.
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There are two theories that have been referred to in the research. The first one is the Dominance Approach theory which argues that the differences in language between men and women are brought about by the male dominance in speech. This approach also states that female subordination to male dominance is what accentuates the distinctions in language.
The second theory attributes the differences in language between men and women to sub-cultural dissimilarities arguing that men belong to a different subculture in relation to women (Curzan, 2003). As a result of these differences in culture and roles of males and females, several linguistic variations such as hedges, question tags, intensifiers, qualifiers, tonal variations, use of adjectives as well as declarations have been established.
The research was based on listening to Turkish speakers and made use of different interviews conducted both in English and Turkish languages. These interviews were based on topics such as drugs use, weight loss, politics and sports. They were conducted by male as well as female journalists.
Male interviewees normally expressed their personal opinions as compared to women who seemed to give a general feminine view on the questions asked. However, English female interviewees seemed to be more assertive than their Turkish counterparts. A total of 17 English interviews with women were analyzed, and altogether 185 hedging devices were noted. This brought out an average of 3.3 hedges. On the other hand, 15 Turkish women were interviewed, and a total of 106 hedges were distinguished. The average was 3.3 that is similar to their English counterparts.
Analysis: Female versus Male Conversations
In both English and Turkish languages, speakers use hedges to give their personal opinions as well as to soften the tonal approach of the conversation. Hedging devices can be employed to identify the intention of the speaker and their attitude towards the person they are addressing. Hedges enable the speaker to have their opinion heard to bring about acknowledgment and personal respect.
Women in both languages have been found to use hedges to create a connection and establish a relationship between themselves and their addressees as they hold conversations. Hedges used by women may change according to the type of conversations and styles of speech. Females also use hedges to assert their opinions in discussions on sensitive topics without directly offending their counterparts. Furthermore, women employ this device to tell about their personal experiences. Such discussions are necessary in female circles for the establishment of friendships. Their conversations are also characterized by the establishment of a group voice and a central ground without any individual dominance. Hedges are used in this respect to avoid any superiority during talks.
Men’s conversations, on the other hand, are characterized by an individual opinion. Minimal overlapping of speech is experienced. It should be noted that males usually express their views one after another. Men often establish a hierarchy in terms of who dominates the talk by giving more ideas and successfully convincing the rest that his is the best option. In both languages, men listen more attentively than women, and their conversations are made of independent observations. They do not use discussions to create friendships and rarely speak about their personal issues. They also do not establish any central ground as compared to women. Most of the time, the topics of their talks include politics although they do not agree on that. They use hedges to indicate that although they may not have the correct answer at the moment, they will give one after finding it (Curzan & Adams, 2012).
Cross gender conversation has been observed to be a cross cultural conversation. This is because both genders belong to different sub-cultural groups. Men dominate the conversations by asserting their personal opinions. Women, on the other hand, make use of question tags and follow up questions to keep the discussion going. Men do not use any hedges while having cross gender discussions as compared to women who use them frequently.
Through research, one was able to identify that there exist differences between female and male use of language. They are similar in English and Turkish languages. This similarity has been supported by the two theories that were used as reference during the research. The theories argue that differences in language between male and female are a result of dissimilarities in the relationship of “dominance versus subordination” where men are usually dominant while women are subordinate. The second theory explains the dissimilarities by the different sub-cultures that males and females belong to. Therefore, female Turkish speakers exhibit similar traits as compared to their English counterparts (Curzan & Adams, 2012).