Gender-related Differences and Their Influence on Communication
Supervisor dr hab. Elżbieta Szymaoska-Czaplak
REGIONAL CENTER OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN OPOLE FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGE IN OPOLE 2011
Różnice płciowe i ich wpływ na komunikację
Promotor dr hab. Elżbieta Czaplak
REGIONALNE CENTRUM KSZTAŁCENIA JĘZYKÓW OBCYCH NAUCZYCIELSKIE KOLEGIUM JĘZYKÓW OBCYCH 2011 4
The issue of the relationship between language and gender has been studied for many years and its tradition is longer than feminist linguistics. During the years of studies it became a distinct discipline of knowledge consisting of linguistic studies, concerning communication patterns connected with gender-related differences and cultural roles of genders. A human learns how to speak and communicate from the first months of his/her life. The young children have their own way of communication and every baby babbles in the same way but when they start playing with peers they watch older children and parents and begin to modulate their voices as to speak more like a man or more like a woman depending on their gender. Communication, which is a process of sending and receiving messages, consists of two types: verbal and nonverbal one. The verbal communication helps to distinguish speaker’s gender and age as well as educational and ethnic background. Nonverbal communication is everything which accompanies the language, including mimic, gestures, look and the tone of voice. In both fields a significant difference between men and women can be observed as they have different tempers and manners. In every community there are different stereotypes about gender and according to them, women talk a lot and are sensitive whereas men are aggressive and dominant. Many researchers dealing with communication try to describe gender-related differences in communication patterns. They prove that men and women are different in many aspects, such as biology, psychology and the language they use. On the other hand, there are some researchers who believe that men and women are more alike than they are different and the differences in the use of language are not significant at all. The aim of the paper is to discuss the gender-related differences in communication patterns as influenced by biology as well as psychology. In the first part, the significant terms such as communication, gender and sex are defined. The latter one is devoted to the review of the research in the field of gender-related differences and their influence on communication.
COMMUNICATION AND GENDER – THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS
There are many disciplines which deal with gender, beginning with biology, through psychology, right up to linguistics. Although the aim of this paper is to examine the linguistic aspect of gender-related differences, the consideration starts with the biological and psychological features since they are believed to form the background for the discussion which follows. The researchers agree that men and women differ considerably in all of these areas. Taking biology into consideration, it is easy to notice how people differ visually but the biological difference extends also into hormones which are specific for each sex. This difference is also noticed by empirical sciences, which include psychology. The researchers distinguish two elements: sex, which is biological, and gender, which is psychological and social. The first and main difference which can be observed is the appearance which distinguishes men and women. The differences are connected with the level of testosterone, which makes men more aggressive than women. This masculinization of brain is determined already in the prenatal life of a human. The low level of testosterone results in a better developed right hemisphere, which causes men’s rationality, and bigger integration of both...
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