Self-disclosure and listener verbal support

What is it that makes males and females so different? What is it that makes males want to utilize profuse profanity and demo their machismo at every chance ( Cameron, 1997 ) ? Why do adult females look to sit so closely to others, and while at that place, inquire several inquiries ( Carli, 1990 ) ? These are age old inquiries that are easy being uncovered. Fortunately, after carry oning extended empirical research over clip, research workers are able to supply penetration into the foibles of males and females. Although replies have non been found for all the inquiries around male-female colloquial manners, research workers have strived to do correlativities and decisions that can be moderately applied to gender related conversation. In order to better understand the complexness of this subject, it is critical to reexamine current research in the sphere of males, females and conversation.

In the book We Have to Talk, by Doctors Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey ( 1998 ) , the writers build the foundation that assists one in understanding why males and females have such distinguishable colloquial manners. Harmonizing to Shem and Surrey, these differences do non come up subsequently in life, but instead are engrained in kids at a really immature age. Equally early as two to three old ages of age, males are no longer nurtured as they were when they were babies. As they grow, they observe relational interactions being created and sustained by females ; nevertheless, males are discouraged from prosecuting with others in this same manner. On the contrary, females are taught to be altruistic and provide raising and attention to others. Once they reach adolescence, nevertheless, they toggle between their upbringing as a, selfless, considerate single and their current demand to go independent and carry through their ain demands. Therefore, as grownups, people are ill-prepared to interact in conversation without experiencing inadequate or awkward. It is during this clip that they test different manners to understand what works good in conversation and what does non. Not merely is the trouble in associating to the gender, but farther, understanding where the gulf lies.

In a survey by Leaper et. Al. ( 1995 ) , the research workers observed conversation manners of adult females in treatment, work forces in treatment and work forces and adult females while in conversation. All talkers were friends prior to the experiment and were asked to speak about how their lives had changed since get downing college. Surprisingly, consequences were non aligned with the investigators’ outlooks. The research workers found that work forces made more revelations than adult females. Second, the research workers found that elucidation inquiries were used more frequently when the male opposite number spoke instead than when adult females spoke with each other. It was besides discovered that adult females used more active apprehension responses when talking with female friends as opposed to adult females did with male friends ; work forces did with female friends ; or work forces did with other male friends.

In a survey by Linda Carli ( 1990 ) , the research worker hypothesized three results: that a woman’s socioeconomic position causes her to talk more tentatively, that work forces would disrupt more than adult females, and 3rd, that adult females when talking with other adult females would utilize more intensives and verbal reinforcing stimuluss than when talking with work forces. For case, adult females tended to add words or phrases to their sentences such as “okay? ” , “you cognize? ” and “maybe” . Wordss such as these disqualify the strength and assertiveness of a statement. Subjects were told to discourse a subject on which they did non hold to detect whether gender influenced the manner topics communicated with each other. Womans showed to be more probationary than work forces, but merely when both work forces and adult females were present. Womans who spoke in a probationary manner were more influential, or more well-regarded, when talking with work forces. Conversely, adult females who spoke more tentatively were less influential, or were less regarded when talking with other adult females. The study’s consequences were solidified in a 2nd portion of the survey. Researchers asked 120 topics to listen to an audiotape of indistinguishable persuasive messages. The messages were spoken by either a adult male or adult female. Again, females who spoke more tentatively were more influential with male topics and less influential with female participants. Male talkers showed to be influential with both male and female topics. This survey attests to the high respect and immediate blessing given to work forces in our society. Further, it besides speaks to the fact that the female function is most receptive to other males when a female is in the traditional, inactive function. However, other females were non accepting of the probationary female function, which indicates that women’s traditional positions about female behaviour are altering. The research worker believes that probationary address may be purposeful for adult females, being that it avoids adult females from being so self-asserting that it is intimidating or off-putting for a adult male.

The research worker found that her 2nd hypothesis was proven incorrectly through the survey consequences. Men did non disrupt at a higher rate than adult females, as suspected. However, Carli high spots that break is more frequent when people are more familiar with each other ( Zimmerman & A ; West, 1975 ) . In the instance of this survey, participants did non cognize each other ; hence, it can be assumed that the strangeness factor affected the observation. However, this theory is non conclusive.

The 3rd hypothesis was aligned with the researcher’s theory that adult females may be given to utilize more intensives and reinforcing stimuluss when talking with adult females than compared with conversations with work forces. She believes this may be true due to women’s higher degree of comfort with other adult females. Additionally, Carli wonders whether the adult females in the group more of course tended to to expose more societal and emotional behaviour when talking with adult females as opposed to work forces, who tend to pass on in a task-oriented mode ( Carli, 1989 ) .

Carli concludes by saying that the correlativity between probationary linguistic communication by adult females and an influence with work forces is non definite. She ponders whether more probationary adult females were besides more pleasant compared with the self-asserting adult females, which could hold caused males to more easy associate with the probationary group. Last, Carli does observe that non one, but two surveies were conducted on tentativeness of adult females in relation to communicating with males, and consequences confirmed the first survey. Therefore, she tends to believe that the trait is causal.

Writer and research worker, Deborah Tannen has done extended work in the country of gender dealingss. More specifically, Dr. Tannen has observed infinite conversations between male couples, female couples, and male-female couples. She has published several journal articles associating to gender related conversation, such as the piece titled, Gender Differences in Topical Coherence ( 1990 ) , where she made interesting decisions about children’s manner of communicating with the same sex at different ages. In this article, Tannen explains the communicating forms between male childs and misss of 2nd, 6th, and 10th classs. In the survey, she asked two kids at a clip to get down a treatment about something serious while she observed organic structure linguistic communication such as position, degree of oculus contact, and distance of talkers. Tannen besides observed each dyad’s degree of topical coherence in conversation or deficiency thereof. Through this research, Tannen discovered many interesting niceties of both males and females when discoursing. Females at every class degree tended to hold bodily alignment, gazed at each other frequently and looked off merely infrequently. Additionally, females rapidly launched into conversation. Their subjects were few but extremely detailed in nature. Harmonizing to Tannen’s observation, physical alliance and topical conversation were tightly and straight focused. Conversely, male childs tended to sit at an angle of each other, gazed at each other infrequently, and tended to look off more frequently. They chose many different subjects of conversation and did non go extremely involved in any one topic. When unwraping personal information, it was in an indirect and abstract manner. Tannen emphasizes that either manner of associating to the same sex is non negative, but different. Particularly when discoursing male childs, Tannen feels strongly that the boys’ discourse is non undistinguished merely because they did non demo physical investing in the conversation. Rather, their organic structure linguistic communication is related more with the manner males are socialized and in fact may be a really important position when maintaining cross-cultural facets in head. For case, in some civilizations, maintaining a after part and slightly distant position is viewed as a mark of regard and conservativeness instead than indifference.

Tannen published a book titled, Gender and Discourse ( 1996 ) , which includes several chapters about the relationship between gender and communicating manners. In her book, Tannen delves into the elaboratenesss of male and female linguistic communication and how each gender relates amongst themselves and with each other. Tannen emphasizes the importance of socialisation and how it so greatly affects the terminal consequence – grownup communicating. Tannen besides points out that linguistic communication should non be viewed entirely on the footing of male and female, but cultural facets of a individual should besides be considered. Different civilizations have alone functions for males and females, which affect how each gender relates within itself and within the opposite sex. For case, Watanabe ( 1993 ) high spots that some civilizations view a hierarchy to be oppressive. However, the Nipponese position themselves in some topographic point within the hierarchy, and therefore experience that they are portion of a system that is working together toward a greater end. Therefore, hierarchy, whether between subsidiaries and supervisors or hubby and married woman, is non seen as a negative quality of a relationship.

Tannen goes on to speak about communicating and the significance of break during conversation. In fact, Tannen felt that it was such a important subject associating to conversation that she dedicated a chapter in her book sing break. She closely examines the map of break and separates it out into two sections – concerted convergence and break as a break. She explains that people frequently conduct break in the map of concerted convergence when in understanding with person. In this case, it is non a ill-mannered break that is intended to hold the other person’s statement, but alternatively a show of understanding and apprehension. This occurs rather frequently and is non debatable. Conversely, break that is meant to halt another from speaking is frequently displayed by males. At times, it is used to interrupt person else’s statement. However, at other times, it is used because a male may happen it hard to province his sentiment at an opportune clip. Further, males are socialized to vie with one another, therefore carry over this competitory demeanour into conversations with both males and females. Therefore, the male interjects when he thinks best. For the female, this may be thwarting and confusing, peculiarly because she is conditioned to listening to others’ conversation so attentively. Tannen points out that understanding a complex map such as break requires both sexes understanding what type of socially related cues are brought up for each gender when an event such as this occurs.

Researcher, Angela Ardington ( 2006 ) , observes preteen girls’ relational manner and how this type of communicating accentuates friendship. The misss in this survey associate “playfully” as Ardington provinces, which enriches participants’ relationships. Ardington describes the gaiety to be a map of confederation edifice, which is manifested in assorted types of interactions. The participants were observed prosecuting in concerted synergistic drama. Atypically, nevertheless, they were besides seen prosecuting in playful confrontation, name-calling and contemptuous. The latter types of interactions were non expected by the participants, nevertheless, were cardinal in edifice confederations and apprehension of each others’ relational manners. Interestingly, Ardington noted that this type of playful confrontation is characteristic of preadolescence and is seen really seldom in childhood and maturity. Ardington’s research is alone in that the features described by the research workers are more typical of males than females. However, it appears that more aggressive drama is acceptable during preadolescence.

In a survey by Davies et. Al. ( 2004 ) , the research workers sought to happen out what societal factors motivated misss to stand out in school. They hypothesized that girls’ ability to win educationally was attributed to the friendly relationships they were able to make within their school. The research workers hypothesized that through these nurturing and supportive friendly relationships, misss were able to make a societal support system for themselves within the school environment. In consequence, misss were able to work together toward the same end within their environment, which resulted in academic success. Based on the consequences of the survey, the research workers summarized that school success was straight attributed to the girls’ ability to make unity amongst themselves through use of linguistic communication, chiefly the type of emotionally driven and supportive linguistic communication used by females, or as the research workers referred to as “girl talk” ( Davies et. al. , 2004 ) .


Based on the overpowering sum of bing research sing gender and linguistic communication, it rapidly becomes clear that males and females have alone manners of pass oning both within their ain gender and outside of it. Females and males show many differences in the manner they communicate. As hypothesized by many research workers, females have a more attentive stance when pass oning with both work forces and adult females. Males, on the other manus, do non demo the same grade of physical heed, therefore exposing less eyesight, sitting farther off from another individual and glancing in another’s way infrequently. Additionally, adult females tend to talk tentatively at times when it is functional, such as when they are talking with work forces and do non wish to take a dominant stance. In return, work forces tend to appeal to the probationary adult female versus one who is more self-asserting, theoretically due to the male’s stance as the dominant function.

Differences in communicating have functionality for both genders and appear to hold derived out of an evolutionary nature. The communicating roles that many males and females continue to expose are typical of behaviour that has long been expected of them. It is merely within the past two to three decennaries that women’s rights have been regarded earnestly. Therefore, many monumental alterations sing gender have merely late begun taking topographic point. This causes gender related attacks to conversation thrive. As stated in much of the research nevertheless, this may non be wholly negative. All people have functions to play during some portion of their twenty-four hours. They may take on the function of instructor at work and exchange to being a male parent upon reaching at place. Functions are necessary for people to do sense of and form their universe. In the same manner, males and females have a function to play. Although much of the male function has been stereotyped as dominant and commanding in nature, this is non ever the instance. Similarly, the female function has been viewed upon as docile and selfless, which besides is non ever accurate. As functions of males and females are altering, colloquial manners will alter with them. Therefore, it is functional for gender-specific conversation to happen, and in fact, may change but ne’er fall on one continuum.

Another facet to take into consideration is that many of the opposing traits of one gender compliment the other gender. For illustration, adult females are viewed as being emotion driven while work forces are logic driven. Although in conversation, these properties may do discord and dissension, if the two genders could join forces on their thoughts, they may come up with superb programs fueled by both passion and logistical significance.

As many research workers noted, an of import caution is to hold a culturally relevant model when analysing the workings of gender. Male-female functions are viewed really otherwise among assorted civilizations, hence, are impacted significantly by cultural norms. Some civilizations have drastically different function assignments, which require a wholly new model from what may be typical to an perceiver. In the Kerala caste in India for case, adult females are the caput of the family, as is the norm. Real estate is passed down from female parents to their girls, adult females typically have several sexual spouses and work forces “belong” to their mother’s place until “given” to a adult female. Not merely is this illustration drastically dissimilar to European and American civilization, but besides opposes the mainstream Indian gender norms ( Chocka, 2003 ) .

Overall, it can non be denied that gender functions do hold an of import topographic point in society. Naturally, due to differences in male and female biological and psychological makeup, linguistic communication is besides affected. History shows that there are many sick feelings sing gender and intervention of females as subservient. However, as social positions are altering, females are going progressively empowered and are better understood. Similarly, male gender functions are besides stereotyped negatively, but as more is known about their manner of relating, apprehension is increasing. As research workers strive to happen out more about the workings of gender related differences, it is of import to go on to encompass what is already known.


Ardington, A.M. ( 2006 ) . Playfully negotiated activity in girls’ talk. Journal of Pragmatics. 38 ( 1 ) , 73-95.

Bergvall, Victoria, Bing, Janet & A ; Freed, Alice ( explosive detection systems ) ( 1996 )Rethinking Language and Gender Research: Theory and Practice.London: Longman.

Cameron, Deborah. ( 1997 ) . Performing gender individuality: Young men’s talk and the building of heterosexual maleness. In Sally Johnson and Ulrike H. Meinhof ( Eds ) , Language and maleness ( pp. 47-64 ) . Oxford: Blackwell.

Carli, L. ( 1990 ) . Gender, Language, and Influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59 ( 5 ) , 941-951.

Chocka, E. ( 2003 ) . Marriage, development and the position of adult females in Kerala. Gender and Development. , 11 ( 2 ) . 52-59.

Coates, J. Gossip Revisited: Language in All-Female Groups in Language and Gender. Blackwell Publishers: Massachusetts. ( 1998 ) .

Coates Jennifer ( 1996 )Womans Talk. Conversation Between Women Friends.Oxford, Blackwell.

Coates Jennifer & A ; Cameron Deborah ( explosive detection systems ) ( 1989 )Womans in their Address CommunitiesLondon Longman.

Davies, J. ( 2004 ) . We know what we ‘re speaking about, do n’t we? ” An scrutiny of girls’ classroom-based acquisition commitments. Linguisticss and Education, An International Research Journal, 15 ( 3 ) . 199-216.

Eckert, Penelope & A ; McConnell-Ginet, Sally ( 2003 )Language and Gender.Cambridge University Press.

Hall, Kira & A ; Mary Bucholz & A ; Birch Moonwomon ( explosive detection systems ) ( 1992 )Locating Power: Documents from the 2nd Berkeley Women and Language Conference.Berkeley: BWLG co-op.

Holmes, Janet & A ; Meyerhoff, Miriam ( 2003 )The Handbook of Language and Gender.Oxford Blackwell.

Leaper, C. ; Carson, M. ; Baker, C. ; Holliday, H. ; & A ; Myers, S. ( 1995 ) . Self-disclosure and hearer verbal support in same-gender and cross-gender friends ‘ conversations. Sexual activity functions: A Journal of Research, 33:5, 387-404.

Shem, S. , & A ; Surrey, J. We Have to Talk. Basic Books: New York, New York. ( 1998 ) .

Tannen, D. ( 1990 ) . Gender Differences in Topical Coherence: Creating Engagement in Best Friends ‘ Talk. Discourse Processes, 13 ( 1 ) . 73-91.

Tannen Deborah ( erectile dysfunction ) ( 1993 )Gender and Conversational Interaction. Oxford U.P.

Tannen, D. Gender and Discourse. Oxford University Press: New York, New York. ( 1996 ) .

Weatherall, Ann ( 2002 )Gender, Language & A ; Discourse. London: Routledge.

Zimmerman, D.H. , West, C. Sex functions, breaks and silences in conversation. Language and sex: Difference and laterality. ( 1975 ) .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *