Lying in Everyday Life:
A Gender-Specific Perspective
Language and Gender
8th August 2011
Ich erkläre hiermit an Eides statt, dass ich die vorliegende Bachelorarbeit “Lying in Everyday Life: A Gender-Specific Perspective“ selbstständig verfasst sowie die benutzten Quellen und Hilfsmittel vollständig angegeben habe und dass die Arbeit nicht bereits als Prüfungsarbeit vorgelegen hat.
Language and Gender
Defining the Terms ‘Language’ and ‘Gender’
Gender-Specific Speech Styles
Defining the Term ‘Lie’?
Lying vs. Deception
Lying as a Violation of Quality
Reasons for Lying
Adhere to the Politeness Theory
Self- vs. Other-Oriented Lies
Different Types of Lies
Social- and White Lies
How to Detect Lies
Overview and Descriptions of Vocal- and Non-Vocal Behaviours
Overview and Description of the Verbal Characteristics
Gender-Specific Differences in Lying
Amount of Lies
Do Men and Women have Different Reasons for Lying?
Do Men and Women Tell Different Types of Lies?
Gender Differences in Lying in “Just Go with It”
Summary of the Movie
Results of the Analysis
Lying in everyday life is a linguistic phenomenon that everybody knows about. Everybody has at least been in a situation where he or she was lying because he or she did not know how to act instead. One can even say that in nowadays lying is regarded as an everyday social interaction process. In the majority of cases, people lie spontaneously. Usually they do not regard their lies as serious or something really bad and do not even worry about being caught (cf. DePaulo et al. 1996, 979). Moreover, we were raised to be polite and we live in a culture where we are expected to express agreement, show support, and protect other people’s feelings and therefore we sometimes do not have another choice than to lie. One could try to tell the truth discreetly, or try to tell not quite the truth instead of telling a big lie. However, these strategies would be risky and it is likely to hurt somebody’s feelings with the complete truth. In addition, most of the lies people tell are rather little lies and therefore people do not really feel remorse (cf. DePaulo et al. 1996, 993). When thinking about lying in everyday life there are a lot of questions popping up. Two of the main questions could probably sound like this: What kinds of lies do we know and which ones do we use the most? And: When can a statement be called a lie? The following chapters will give answers to these and further questions. Since this paper is written in the field of language and gender studies, there will be given a broad overview about the results of studies regarding gender-specific speech styles as well. Finally, this paper investigates whether there are gender-specific differences in lying or not. Since sex differences in lying have rarely been researched within linguistic literature, I primarily refer to the results of Bella DePaulo's studies. Moreover, I will analyse different lies taken from the movie Just Go with It in order to find out whether these lies show differences that can be lead back to their sex or to typical gender behaviour. The complete analysis can be found in the appendix and only the results are...
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