Men vs Women Talk

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Men VS Women Talk|
Language & Research Module|

Submitted by

Lei Pu
Wu Xiaoxuan
Zhang Shu
Zhang Yuan
Zhao Yuanyuan



As previous works described, men like to talk in a polemical way, whereas women’s talking is more mild and suggestive (Tannen, 1990). However, most of the existing studies were conducted among acquaintances. This research, on the contrary, was aimed to identify the differences and similarities of the first conversation between male and female. This objective was achieved by conducting a survey among the NTU undergraduates and interviewing a lecturer, which enabled us to compare the initiative, content and characteristic of their first conversation. The results reveal that male are more willing to start a conversation and show their power to gain status over female, while female are more considerate and polite to respond the other party instead of talking about themselves. In spite of these differences, there is no significant sign to show the distinction between male and female in their choices of topics. This research will help people to comprehend the other party better to minimize misunderstandings and make their conversations more smooth and efficient.

An American expert on relationship, Barbara De Angelis, once said, ‘A man's brain has a more difficult time shifting from thinking to feeling than a woman's brain does.’ It is a matter of fact that differences between men and women exist in our daily life regarding thinking, talking and so on. Without a clear understanding of these differences, male and female relationship might deteriorate because of certain problems which would occur, for instance, women would be frustrated when men do not want to hear them verbalizing their feelings, meanwhile men would be annoyed since they see women’s speech as peripheral to the topic (Eakins, 1978). As we can see, relationship problems can be easily caused when people with the opposite gender fail to communicate with each other. The contents, intonations, gestures, styles and the like of communications vary according to genders. Thus, studies need setting out to examine conversation between the two genders, in order to understand male and female talking ways. The aim of the project is to identify the differences which appear in the first conversation with the opposite gender. The following questions will be answered: * What do men/women prefer to talk about during a conversation? * What communicating skills would men/women like to use?

* How can men/women avoid misunderstandings when they talk to the opposite sex? The objectives will be achieved by comparing three aspects of the first conversation with the opposite gender, the initiative, contents and characteristics, between male and female. This report will start with reviewing the previous research on the relevant fields. Then it will present the result analysis of the survey conducted among NTU undergraduates. Besides, an interview of a lecturer from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences will also be involved. Finally, the most effective talking ways to avoid misunderstandings during the first conversation will be recommended. 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW

The contents of people’s talk differ between male and female. Men tend to focus on their achievements and topics unrelated to their personal matters (Coates, 2003) while women prefer to talk about more emotional affairs and use more polite expressions (Romaine, 1999; Jule, 2008). To illustrate this idea, mainly three aspects are studied: lexis, sentence types and topics. Firstly, men like to use words which can directly express their feelings (Poynton, 1989), but women use more descriptive and polite words (Holmes, 1995). For example, there are more specialized terms for women than men to describe colors, such as mauve, chartreuse, and baby blue (Romaine, 1999). Secondly, men apply more objective sentences,...
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