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Thread: Gender differences in language

  1. #41
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    I had a friend who told me that during World War II he was among the American military trained in Japanese for interrogating prisoners. Because they used Japanese women as teachers, the Japanese prisoners were interrogated by American men speaking women's Japanese, which the prisoners found quite astounding.
    That is an often told tale, but I don't think it is true (or, more precisely, it couldn't be true).
    It is very true that male and female speech are different (though that difference tends to diminish in contemporary Japan, where so-called "polite speech" is less respected by the young generation) in Japanese. But 1) someone teaching Japanese, male or female, will use "neutral Japanese", 2) the difference really appears in advanced speech and particular circumstances, and above all in "hierarchic" context. Daily speech and casual conversation won't make much difference.
    This being said, one of the big difference between male and female speech in Japanese is not so much the pronouns (though "boku" and especially "ore" -for I- won't be used by females) but the use of the honorific prefix (particle) "o" in front of nouns (uchi = house, o uchi = house said by a female), but "o" can also be used by men in front of superiors. But all this is probably much less important (though still present) nowadays then it was in the past.
    "Les langages, à mon gré, sont comme les gouvernements, les plus parfaits sont ceux où il y a le moins d'arbitraire". (Voltaire)

  2. #42
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    The same is true about Slavic languages. There is a big difference between how you refer to women and how you refer to me. This is mostly a grammatical difference. In Slavic and Baltic languages there are different pronouns to refer to men and women - 3rd Plural, which would be expressed by they in English. The difference is big in Polish, especially, because of the use of Pan-Pani. Sir-Madam. The verb forms differ too. Re: 39

  3. #43
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Some further food for thought here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_...poken_Japanese
    "Les langages, à mon gré, sont comme les gouvernements, les plus parfaits sont ceux où il y a le moins d'arbitraire". (Voltaire)

  4. #44
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    In some areas, like Canary Islands , women tend to use more diminutives and some affectionate words when addressing someone like "mi niño", "mi cielo" (my baby, my heaven)


    It's the same situation in Swiss-German. There are girls who put diminutives everywhere.

    Mir sind go bade => Mir sind go bädele (We went swimming)
    Is Bett ga => Is Bettli ga (Go to bed)

  5. #45
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by Elianecanspeak
    I had a friend who told me that during World War II he was among the American military trained in Japanese for interrogating prisoners. Because they used Japanese women as teachers, the Japanese prisoners were interrogated by American men speaking women's Japanese, which the prisoners found quite astounding.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aoyama View Post
    That is an often told tale, but I don't think it is true (or, more precisely, it couldn't be true).
    It is very true that male and female speech are different (though that difference tends to diminish in contemporary Japan, where so-called "polite speech" is less respected by the young generation) in Japanese. But 1) someone teaching Japanese, male or female, will use "neutral Japanese", 2) the difference really appears in advanced speech and particular circumstances, and above all in "hierarchic" context. Daily speech and casual conversation won't make much difference.
    This being said, one of the big difference between male and female speech in Japanese is not so much the pronouns (though "boku" and especially "ore" -for I- won't be used by females) but the use of the honorific prefix (particle) "o" in front of nouns (uchi = house, o uchi = house said by a female), but "o" can also be used by men in front of superiors. But all this is probably much less important (though still present) nowadays then it was in the past.
    In describing his experience during world war II my friend was referring principally to supersegmentals -- tone of voice and register, and conversational conventions (like "ano ne" introducing a statement of fact). The Japanese women who taught them were not necessarily professional teachers, so I don't know if they used neutral Japanese. My colleague demonstrated the hesitant, polite language he learned to imitate as he attempted to match his teacher's intonation, and then the curt military form for giving orders that heard male native speakers use.. This was his own experience, and not something he had heard second hand.
    Por favor • no dudes en corregir mis errores : El perfeccionismo no es malo si no es obsesión

  6. #46
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    I ran into this post at the Language Log, and thought you might like to read it.
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  7. #47
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    The link is interesting.
    As for "ano ne" (in Japanese) "introducing a statement of fact", it is merely the equivalent of "well ..." in English. It can be used by both sexes and has no meaning as to "politeness level".
    "Les langages, à mon gré, sont comme les gouvernements, les plus parfaits sont ceux où il y a le moins d'arbitraire". (Voltaire)

  8. #48
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    This once happened to a French male who learned Korean. The female teacher seemingly told him that "-yo" is for women only and he should avoid it. While that might have been true in her lifetime, and for some machoist people maybe, in today's world it is commonly used by men, although it does sound much softer, more colloquial, more "feminin" if you will. In the army you are FORBIDDEN to speak in that manner.

  9. #49
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by chifladoporlosidiomas View Post
    I know where I live (here in Northern California) a lot of girls (and gay boys) around my age use "that" to introduce reported speech.
    Example:

    Girls (and gay boys) do use "like" as a (more or less) direct quote:
    I was like, "Get out of my way or I'll move you myself!" And she was like, "I'd like to see you try!"
    Is that use of ''like'' only from Northern California and not regarded like that in other places where English is spoken? Because that use of 'like' is very common in Spanish and I use it in that way in English too . Now I don't know if my spoken English is more girly or just neutral
    Username: Suzumiya. 所詮この世は弱肉強食。強ければ生き、弱ければ死ぬ。-志々雄真実

  10. #50
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by 涼宮 View Post
    Is that use of ''like'' only from Northern California and not regarded like that in other places where English is spoken? Because that use of 'like' is very common in Spanish and I use it in that way in English too . Now I don't know if my spoken English is more girly or just neutral
    By the way, there is a similar phenomenon in Russian too. Some use the word "такой"/"такая" ("such", "is such", "is like") to introduce a direct speech. It is used only in girltalk (I had to find a name for it ): let's imagine a girl talks about her date to her friend, girl too: "а он такой 'ты не могла раньше прийти?', а я такая "нет, не могла", а он: "да где же ты была?", а я: "с Витькой гуляла". Разругались, конечно. Ревнивый больно!"
    Last edited by Explorer41; 9th January 2012 at 1:37 AM.

  11. #51
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Thank you for that information Explorer! I love food for thoughts, especially about Slavic languages. Now that makes me wonder if in general terms, girls use more pet words(muletillas/Tic de langage) than men.
    Username: Suzumiya. 所詮この世は弱肉強食。強ければ生き、弱ければ死ぬ。-志々雄真実

  12. #52
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Well, in that situation the word "такой"/"такая" is used to shorten a speech, to make it faster (it substitutes words like "сказал", "ответил", "полагает, что", which are longer and require more thought to use them). That girl hastens to message as much as possible in a second to her friend ;-). And also her speech becomes very informal. I think, that are two reasons why that way of speech sounds "girlish".

    As for "muletillas" (my dictinary translates it as "слова-паразиты", words that litter someone's speech), men in Russia use them too, and often ;-)
    Last edited by Explorer41; 9th January 2012 at 2:00 AM.

  13. #53
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by LilianaB View Post
    The same is true about Slavic languages. There is a big difference between how you refer to women and how you refer to me. This is mostly a grammatical difference. In Slavic and Baltic languages there are different pronouns to refer to men and women - 3rd Plural, which would be expressed by they in English. The difference is big in Polish, especially, because of the use of Pan-Pani. Sir-Madam. The verb forms differ too. Re: 39
    A Polish survivor of Auschwitz wrote a book entitled: "I was a number". The title of the book is Polish is "Byłem numerem".
    The form of the verb shows that it is a man speaking.
    If a woman had written about her experiences, it would be "B
    ył
    am numerem"

    So in Polish if a past tense form of a verb has been used in speaking or writing, you know immediately whether the speaker/writer is a male or a female.
    It may be possible by analysis to make an educated guess about the sex of a writer in English, but if the Polish is grammatically correct, you know with certainty.

    Bibo, ergo sum.

  14. #54
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by 涼宮 View Post
    Is that use of ''like'' only from Northern California and not regarded like that in other places where English is spoken? Because that use of 'like' is very common in Spanish and I use it in that way in English too . Now I don't know if my spoken English is more girly or just neutral
    Some people use it this way where I live as well: I could here such conversations sometimes on the train. I think mostly girls say it, not the very educated kind. I was always told that it was a sign of not being really educated, nothing else. I think I have heard a man use it, but I think it was more to make a parody on some girls. I'm like sitting there and he is like looking at me.

  15. #55
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by Brioche View Post
    A Polish survivor of Auschwitz wrote a book entitled: "I was a number". The title of the book is Polish is "Byłem numerem".
    The form of the verb shows that it is a man speaking.
    If a woman had written about her experiences, it would be "B
    ył
    am numerem"



    Yes, You are absolutely right, Brioche. It is self-evident who is speaking because of the grammatical forms. The same is true about Russian, and also about Lithuanian when adjectives are used. There may be some sentences which are neutral in Lithuanian -- where you cannot sense the sex just from the grammatical constructions used. I don't think you can hide sex in Polish and Russian sentences, because the verb form is usually different. There might be some verb forms which overlap, in the present tense especially: some verb forms are the same for the masculine and the feminine gender.On the whole, however you can find out sex of the writer by looking at verb forms, adjectives and pronouns, especially.




  16. #56
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by LilianaB View Post
    Publicado por 涼宮
    Is that use of ''like'' only from Northern California and not regarded like that in other places where English is spoken? Because that use of 'like' is very common in Spanish and I use it in that way in English too . Now I don't know if my spoken English is more girly or just neutral
    Some people use it this way where I live as well: I could here such conversations sometimes on the train. I think mostly girls say it, not the very educated kind. I was always told that it was a sign of not being really educated, nothing else. I think I have heard a man use it, but I think it was more to make a parody on some girls. I'm like sitting there and he is like looking at me.
    Agree with Liliana. Mostly California, not really educated, and used by girls.

  17. #57
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    Agree with Liliana. Mostly California, not really educated, and used by girls.
    LMAO, so, I've been talking like a girl from time to time, cool . Well, I'll have to correct my ''likes''(not synonym of tastes).
    Username: Suzumiya. 所詮この世は弱肉強食。強ければ生き、弱ければ死ぬ。-志々雄真実

  18. #58
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    Females from California use more uptalk than men. (They sound like Norwegians, using high rise terminal not only in questions but in statements too).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal

  19. #59
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    I think the girls that use this kind of upspeak are referred to as "valley girls" (like the female characters in the movie Clueless).

  20. #60
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    Re: Gender differences in language

    It's not limited to Valley Girls. It's a common ''feature'' of the informal Pacific Northwestern English and Australian English.

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