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Language Differences - Women and Men

            There have been many differences between men and women in almost every sphere of life since the very beginning of human existence. One of these differences is the way the two sexes use language. But do women and men talk differently? Differences between the two sexes fascinate people so it is not surprising that there is curiosity about the way women and men talk, and whether there indeed are linguistic gender differences (Coates, 2004). In this paper, I shall give a general overview of the development of the area which deals with the language use of women and men. Then I shall explore five fields in which women and men's language differs, namely vocabulary, pronunciation, Conversational Analysis, grammar and pitch range. I shall give some particular as well as general examples of these differences by referring to the surveys and research conducted by linguists in this field. .
             "English, like all languages, is not homogeneous. It varies according to the circumstances in which it is spoken or written. The variety of English used depends on many factors, such as where it is being used, why, when, how and, of course, who by" (Talbot, 2010, p. 16). It is only relatively recently that sociolinguists have turned their attention to gender. This has several reasons. Firstly, in traditional dialectology researchers carried out studies with only male speakers, such as Labov's study of black adolescents in Harlem (Coates, 2004). Secondly, as sociolinguistics became a discipline, a shift of attention from standard to non-standard varieties of language took place. Therefore different minority speech communities, which have already existed before this shift, but were not examined, came under investigation. However, since women were not looked group, they were upon as a minority not examined (Coates, 2004). Thirdly, "until relatively recently, men were automatically seen as at the heart of society, with women being peripheral or even invisible" (Coates, 2004, p.

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