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ERIC Number: ED126547
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Fluency of Women's Speech.
Silverman, Ellen-Marie
In 1922, Otto Jespersen hypothesized that women were more fluent (exhibited less hesitation in oral expression) than men because they had smaller and more central vocabularies, consisting of common words and combinations. Men's vocabularies were considered more extensive due to the inclusion of numerous novel, technical, and infrequently used words. The purpose of this study was to test the validity of Jespersen's hypothesis. Twenty university students, ten females and ten males, were matched on the basis of chronological age, socioeconomic status, and variables shown to influence fluency levels and vocabulary. Each subject then described "a memorable life experience," which was recorded on a three-minute tape. Data reported do not support the notion that women are more verbally fluent than men. In addition, no significant difference in the nature of men and women's vocabulary was revealed. While findings tend to refute Jespersen's hypothesis, it may be possible that a dramatic change in women's language patterns has occurred since the theory was posited, or that a statistical error due to the small sample population may have contaminated the results. (KS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on the Sociology of the Languages of American Women (Las Cruces, New Mexico, January 1976)