Lying in Everyday Life: a Gender-Specific Perspective

Topics: Lie, Deception, Gender Pages: 41 (13943 words) Published: March 5, 2013
Lying in Everyday Life:
A Gender-Specific Perspective

Seminar: Language and Gender
Module:E 2
First Examiner:
Second Examiner:
Due Date:8th August 2011
Process Time: 9 weeks
Semester: WS 2010/2011


Eidesstattliche Erklärung

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.




2.Language and Gender3

2.1Defining the Terms ‘Language’ and ‘Gender’3

2.2Gender-Specific Speech Styles4

3.Defining the Term ‘Lie’?6

3.1Lying vs. Deception8

3.2Lying as a Violation of Quality9

4.Reasons for Lying11

4.1Adhere to the Politeness Theory12

4.2Further Reasons12

4.3Self- vs. Other-Oriented Lies13

5.Different Types of Lies15

5.1Social- and White Lies16

6.How to Detect Lies18

6.1Body Language20

6.2Linguistic Features21

6.3Overview and Descriptions of Vocal- and Non-Vocal Behaviours22

6.4Overview and Description of the Verbal Characteristics23

7.Gender-Specific Differences in Lying27

7.1Amount of Lies27

7.2Do Men and Women have Different Reasons for Lying?28

7.3Do Men and Women Tell Different Types of Lies?29

8.Gender Differences in Lying in “Just Go with It”31

8.1Summary of the Movie31

8.2Results of the Analysis32





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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