Describe how male and females use language differently.

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Males and females tend to use language in different ways, though it is important to remember that generalizations can only go so far.   Individuals will always be found that don't conform to the norm and that's part of what makes communications an interesting field of study.  That said, the main difference in male and female communication concerns what is sometimes refereed to as report talk versus rapport talk.

"Report talk" is usually associated with men.  Males, in general, are more likely to discuss facts and their opinions regarding facts.  They tend to suppress language that involves feelings in favor of more concrete words. In this way, their conversation is said to be blunt, like a report.  Men are also more likely to give advice, solicited or not.  An example would be saying, "That vase looks best on the shelf over there."  

"Rapport talk" is usually associated with women.  Females, in general, are more likely to include words that express feelings and develop relationships.  They take into account the overall relationship and are able to use more abstraction.  The words they choose are less confrontational and, as a consequence, are more indirect.  An example would be saying, "I think that vase would probably look best on the shelf."

Keep in mind, again, that these are not absolutes.  


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