|Posted on November 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM|
It’s commonly accepted that in any heterosexual relationship, men and women seem to be speaking completely different languages – but are we really? And why?
Looking more closely at the alleged language barrier between the sexes, what differences have been found? Unfortunately, it would appear it’s not just as simple as make-up versus Match of the Day, but rather more scientific, and far more interesting. When it comes to the language itself, the linguist Robin Lakoff claims that women use significantly more empty adjectives, including ‘nice’ and ‘lovely’ – certainly helpful when needed to describe that hideous skirt your friend just tried on in H&M! Women also use more hedges, such as ‘sort of’ and ‘kind of’ (“yeah, it kind of suits you” ) and more ‘tag questions’, which are declarative statements with a question ‘tagged’ onto the end, for example, “you’re definitely buying it then, are you?”. Lakoff puts these differences down to women’s ‘subordinate social status’, associating the linguistic differences with deference and powerlessness.
Image © Holly Brandon, an original image.