By: Louise Mullany
Since the mid-1970s, investigating the difference between male and female speech patterns has come to be a prominent feature of sociolinguistic research. Previous language and gender researchers have found that female interactants are more linguistically polite than their male counterparts, as they favour co-operative discourse strategies. In contrast, males favour competitive strategies. This paper tests the co-operation and competition framework by analysing the amount of attention male and female interviewers and interviewees pay to the norms and conventions of linguistic politeness in Radio 4 broadcast interviews.
A pattern consistent with the co-operation and competitiveness framework is found, though there are exceptions, which cast doubt on the adequacy of previous theories that claim to explain why men and women speak differently.Download full article (pdf), File Download