Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Language and Gender

By Azys Syaiful Anwar

In sociolinguistics, language and gender have a close relationship. In addition, there is a question which can be used as a topic of a discussion; it is “why do women speak more politely than a man?” In the other words, women tend to use standard languages than men. Some linguists believe that women aware of their social status in the society. Related to the matter, we have to bring language as a part of social life containing some values which reflected the complexities of social network, politic, and culture in the society.

The differences between men and women are quite clear. Physically, women are weaker than men. Besides, socio-cultural factor also influences their languages or in speaking, for example: their profession, women have different role in a community.

In the Javanese society, a woman, in her activities, is considered to be more polite than a man. In this point of view, women shall speak politely. However, this is not always true. In the daily conversation between mother and her daughter or husband and wife usually informal language is used. Sometimes, the conversation is inserted with colloquial or utterances. Besides, it will be an unwelcome sound for our ear if a woman speaks loudly using rude utterances such as, ‘damn’ or ‘shit’; women usually speak polite words such as: ‘oh dear’, or ‘fudge’. Besides, women often speak using adjectives, such as adorable, charming, divine, lovely and sweet.

This difference in vocabularies which is caused by gender can describe each role of women and men in the community. In addition, women also have different call in the community. People usually called women using polite and elegance calling, such as miss, lady, even babe (baby). In the socialization, men more often talk about sports, business, politic, formal materials or taxes. Meanwhile, women tend to speak about social life, books, foods, drinks, and lifestyles. Likewise, there are also differences in certain English words based on gender, such as actor-actress, waiter-waitress, mr.-mrs, boy-girl, man-woman, etc.

The differences of the way of speaking of women and men are:

Women: Talking too muc, Talking about their private life and emotions, Using less rude words, Like to talk about celebrities issues, If they talk about a man, they may talk about his attitude, personality and care.
Men: Talking less than women, not talking about their feeling,Usually talk using rude words, such as damn, shit, fuck,etc, Like to talk about sports, politics, and culture, If they talk about a woman, they mostly talk about their physical appearance. :)


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