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ERIC Number: ED142092
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Nov-4
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Why Sex Based Language Differences are Elusive.
Tyler, Mary
Paradoxically, linguists' speculations about sex differences in language use are highly plausible and yet have received little empirical support from well controlled studies. An experiment was designed to correct a flaw in earlier methodologies by sampling precisely the kinds of situations in which predicted differences (e.g., swearing, questioning, politeness) might be expected. College students were asked to indicate exactly how they would respond in a series of typical campus situations. They were also asked to describe the experimental room. No sex differences were found in any measured aspects of reported speech style, e.g., politeness, questioning, swearing, use of "feminine" words, though some differences in content emerged in the descriptive passages. Consistent with earlier results, women responded more to other people; men, to physical dimensions. The failure of this and other laboratory-based studies to demonstrate consistent differences between men's and women's styles suggests that sex-based styles are not invariant, but rather are continuua similar to those posited by sociolinguists regarding such variables as formality of situation. To record sex-specific language, researchers should abandon the sex neutral laboratory and collect data in sex-specific settings such as baby showers or men's poker games. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper read at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics (15th, Atlanta, Georgia, November 4, 1976)