The Study of Gender Difference in Attitude Toward Rapport-Talk

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The Study of Gender Difference in Attitude toward Rapport-talk Yuan Long
East Tennessee State University

In this paper, the gender difference in attitude toward rapport-talk was discussed. According to previously existent academic resources, a phenomenon could be concluded as follow: generally, women interest in rapport-talk while men interest in report-talk. Focusing on rapport-talk, my hypothesis is that women’s interest toward rapport-talk is greater than men’s interest toward rapport-talk. 40 participants were randomly selected locally in Tri-city. 20 of them were female, and 20 of them were male. Each of them did a survey which contained 4 statements employed with 7 point-response format anchored by strongly disagree and strongly agree. Through collecting and analyzing the data, the result proved the hypothesis, namely, there is gender difference in attitude toward rapport-talk. The limitations and implications were also discussed in this paper. Keyword: rapport-talk, gender difference, communication style.

The Study of Gender Difference in Attitude toward Rapport-talk
Gender difference in communication has been an issue discussed fervently for several years. In recent researches about communication on the basis of gender difference, there are plenty of discuss of conversational styles. Tannen (1990) who believes that men and women have different conversational styles, first proposes the terms rapport-talk and report-talk. Tannen (1990) explains these two terms as follow: For most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships. Emphasis is placed on displaying similarities and matching experiences. For most men, talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order. (p.77) To compare men and women’s different conversational styles, Barletta (2010) states as follow: “When men communicate they’re concerned with conveying information and establishing status. When women communicate they’re concerned with conveying information and building connections” (p.2). In addition, Wood (2008) points out that language define women and men differently: “women are frequently defined by appearance or by relationships with others, whereas men are more typically defined by activities, accomplishments, or positions” (p. 119). Moreover, Mechelen (1991) indicates that “among themselves, women perceive questions as being a deferential and undemanding way to let the other person know what they're thinking and give the opportunity to agree or disagree without losing face” (p.1). Take a panoramic view of these existing academic resources, all researchers illustrate that men and women have different conversational styles through explaining women’s preference to rapport-talk and men’s preference to report-talk. Therefore, I predicted that women’s interest toward rapport-talk is greater than men’s. The two dependent variables are women’s interest toward rapport-talk and men’s interest toward rapport-talk. The main purpose of this research is verifying whether women interest in rapport-talk more than men do. Method

Forty participants were selected randomly in the area of Tri-city. The average age of all participants was 29.4. 20 of them were females, 20 of them were males. Female subjects and male subjects’ average age are 25.4 and 33.4 respectively (Table 7). 25 of them were domestic students of ETSU, 8 of them were employees of Eastman Chemical Company, 4 of them were international students of ETSU, and 3 of them were staffs of ETSU. Procedure

Firstly, I randomly selected subjects on ETSU campus such as Culp-center, Sherrod library, and computer lab. All of these subjects were agreeable to do the survey. Secondly, I went to Johnson City Mall and also randomly selected subjects in order to diversify subjects’ occupation and age. However, due to some...
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