30 Aug 2022


Gender Difference in Language

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Academic level: College

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Obviously, throughout the last decades, and as a consequence of feminist movements, the dimension of gender differences emerged to be tightly bound to the issue of language use. To be precise, it is worth saying that gender surveys as well as language surveys refer to interdisciplinary filed of studies. One has to understand that the fist attempts to expand the insight on the principles of language use go back to the fist century BC; on the other hand, concerning the study of gender, one has to be conscious that people began to draw special attention to this social construct some thirty years ago. It is important to indicate that gender studies incorporated the signs of a heterogeneous nature; a peculiar thing is that an increased focus on gender differences appeared to take place in North America in the second half of 20 th century. Contemplating upon the formation of gender studies, one has to know that it was much associated with the rise of women’s liberation movement in 1960s. The focus here lies in arguing that feminist work occurred as an extremely substantial factor, which has contributed to every aspect of human life by cultivating some new approaches to evaluating gender differences based on predominantly societal as well as behavioural distinctions. Significantly, the rise of the fight for women’s suffrage within the U.S. society “…has entered and had impact upon almost every academic discipline.” (Flotow, 2004, p. 1) 

Surely, the survey of gender distinctions should not be underestimated from the perspective of positive effect on the way people are likely to conceive of the significance of additional insight on male and female language differences. It becomes apparent that the initial step to come to understanding all the complexity of genders consists in elucidating the difference between the opposite sexes. One cannot but encounter the fact that men and women can be characterized by possessing a vast amount of straightforward distinctions in numerous fields. On the whole, one cannot but disagree that females tend to have more fat in comparison to males; in addition, women are not aimed at an increase in muscle mass, whereas man draw a particular attention to gaining muscle weight. Apart from the above-said, it is important to make mention of that women can be characterized by having a relatively longer life span. Of course, females and males usually demonstrate entirely distinct attitudes towards life and give preference to different strategies of how to cope with certain work. The question naturally arises as to why men and women show all the aforementioned differences? 

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In any way, besides some obvious physical reasons, one has to distinguish some societal reasons why two genders are extremely dissimilar in the way they live and think. Indisputably, females are likely to increase their longevity due to doing an absolutely different role as human beings. To be precise, men, for instance, are forced to undertake more physical activity in comparison to women; additionally, particular differences in the manner of performance in the workplace are likely to be explained through certain messages that males and females get at different stages of their life; and taking a view of whether men and women use the same language in a different way, one has to know that there is an evident distinction in language use between two genders. 

Male and Female Language Differences 

Considering the language itself, one has to understand that it actually mirrors and transmits societal distinctions; consequently, it is important to take into consideration the fact that the focus on human system of communication can indisputably give the chance to vividly see male-female differences in language that has “…seen an explosion of research.” ( Newman et al., 2008, p. 212) Apparently, conducting a survey on gender differences in language use, one should draw special attention to male and female spoken language differences, making an emphasis on particularly the pronunciation. One cannot help but become aware that phonological distinctions in the way men and women utter the words can be seen in the prevailing majority of languages. To make it clear, one has to know that women’s pronunciation is considered as much better in comparison to men’s utterance. Significantly, gender studies addressing the differences in language use made it clear that the bulk of the women’s community members are prone to pronouncing the words correctly; however, less than a half of men can be characterized by showing high level of pronunciation knowledge. It becomes apparent that, as a rule, the number of those females who give preference to learning foreign languages outnumbers the men willing to become polyglots. 

In addition to an obvious difference in pronunciation between two genders, one should also take into account the aspect of intonation. The focus here lies in claiming that females usually tend to communicate in a high-pitch voice due to explicit psychological explanation; all in all, many researchers advance an argument that women’s peculiar intonation is much related to their emotional turbulence. Furthermore, one should also admit that females usually utilize reverse accent throughout spoken language. In particular, it is important to highlight the fact that women often give preference to rising intonation while being involved in elaborating the response; obviously, unlike men who are most likely to use falling intonation while giving answer to a certain question, women demonstrate the opposite intonation. Considering why women stick to the aforementioned model of intonation, one should be conscious that many scientists connect this pattern with women’s gentleness. Moreover, it becomes clear that the given intonation can endow people with an opportunity to vividly see women’s disappointment with their lack of confidence. 

Men’s and Women’s Vocabulary 

Another aspect of gender differences in language use consists in different vocabulary that genders focus on. To be precise, it is important to pinpoint that men and women usually convey their verbal messages with the help of entirely different words. The abovementioned distinction incorporates five dimensions. First of all, it is worth taking into consideration color words that women most often consider as an integral part of their everyday’s vocabulary; on the other hand, the majority of men will most probably avoid these words that have French origin. Secondly, differences in vocabulary can be vividly seen on the basis of adjectives. The thing is that throughout everyday’s life, it is possible to take a notice of numerous adjectives that women utilize in order to reflect their feelings. Notwithstanding this fact, males most often disregard the use of adjectives, and the focus here lies in that men are less sensitive and reluctant to give utterance to some internal feelings with the help of particular adjectives, respectively. 

Apart from the difference in the use of adjectives between two genders, it is important to make mention of swear words, which are likely to give evidence to clear distinctions in language use as well. In particular, women can be characterized by their unwillingness “…to use swear words and dirty words.” ( Xia, 2013, p. 1486) On the other hand, in everyday’s life it is possible to observe numerous swear words in men’s vocabulary. The fourth vivid example of different forms of language that men and women give preference to can be seen in the way they use diminutives. To put the matter differently, one should know that women are more likely to utilize the words representing affections or implying smallness. However, a number of men will definitely avoid using such words due to the fact that an increased focused on these words is likely to signalize some emotional disorders. The last but not the least, it is important to draw a particular attention to pronouns. Generally speaking, females often like to utilize first person plural, whereas males can express their position, making an emphasis on the first person singular. 

Sex Differences in Psychology 

Looking into the entity of language use among men and women, one has to know that it is much related to psychological differences between genders. It has been hypothesized that women tend to be more sensitive; in addition, when they usually begin a conversation, women are extremely concerned about the probable effect that certain words are likely to make on the interlocutor. Consequently, females can be characterized by being more tolerant and polite. On the other hand, the bulk of men often speak out what they want without a preliminary analysis of the words they choose. Contemplating upon gender difference in language, one should come to understanding the significance of social status factor. What it means is that social root cannot be underestimated in terms of a substantial impact it makes on the study of gender distinctions (Coates & Johnson, 2001). It appears to be absolutely certain that males and females do distinct roles within the community. Many researchers prove the idea that difference in language can be explained through the predominance of men in leadership positions. On the contrary, women’s social rank makes them remain inferior to men even though some fundamental measures to eradicate discriminatory policy have been taken. 

The Impact of Cultural Background 

Another factor contributing to gender difference in language consists in distinct cultural background. Obviously, apart from language itself, it is important to understand a profoundly complex life style of each particular individual, regardless of social sex-role stereotypes; inevitably, “...even when the content of the message is the same, individuals express themselves verbally with their own distinctive styles.” (Pennebaker & King, 1999, p. 1296) One should know that it is people’s cultural background that coordinates the policy of language use. Consequently, it becomes apparent that language occurs as a form of cultural issue. In view of Lakoff (1975), one cannot but encounter the fact that gender difference in language is tightly linked to a particular mode of thinking that each person develops throughout his/her life on the basis of deeply-rooted cultural postulates within the society. 

The Evolution throughout Time 

Apparently, language occurs to be tightly bound to public movements, and, therefore, shift of focus in social organization will indisputably influence the language itself. Due to the technological advances, it is possible to vividly see certain rules that the community imposes on people, respectively. As a result, one should be conscious that women’s social status is gradually undergoing some rearrangements in terms of taking more serious role in the mainstream currents. In any way, linguistic behaviour should not be connected with exceptionally social status; one should know that education as well as career choice occurs as extremely significant factor which usually conceptualizes a preferred language. Nowadays, the prevailing majority of people consider getting education to be important due to the fact it is likely to enable them to develop cultural competence; since more and more men become willing to gain a solid education, it is possible to observe a step-by-step downturn of foul language among them. 


One has to admit that many contemporary studies address gender as a social phenomenon, which is likely to help come up with an appropriate response to numerous scientific inquiries. Surely, there is a vast amount of gender distinctions in utilizing language; what is more, human cultural evolution implants some new roles that men and women have to play today. Some scholars assert that the ongoing development of society’s beliefs will most probably lessen gender difference in language; in addition, language as a human system of communication will continue to evolve in the future; yet, both men and women have to put a lot of effort into triggering a mind reframing shift, which would contribute to the elimination of gender differences in language use. 


Coates, L., & Johnson, T. (2001). Towards a Social Theory of Gender. In W. P. Robinson & 

H. Giles (Eds.), The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology (pp. 451–464). New York: Wiley. 

Flotow, L. (2004). Translation and Gender. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education 


Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and Women’s Place. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 

Newman, M., et al. (2008). Gender Differences in Language Use: An Analysis of 14,000 

Text Samples. Discourse Processes, 45, 211-236. 

Pennebaker, J. W., & King, L. A. (1999). Linguistic Styles: Language Use as an Individual 

Difference. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology , 6, 1296–1312. 

Xia, X. (2013). Gender Differences in Using Language . Theory and Practice in Language 

Statistics, 3 (8), 1485-1489. 

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