How does the way men talk differ from the way women talk?

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A lot has been written about how and why language use differs between women and men. Status disparity not withstanding, some apparent gender differences are a consequence of interacting with a partner who uses a particular speech style, rather than reflecting a gendered pattern of language use. To further examine the impact of conversational responses to speech style, 48 participants engaged in 2 mixed-sex conversations with 2 strangers. Participants were categorized as facilitative or nonfacilitative, and results indicated that their conversational partners responded to them in a systematic way regardless of gender. Over time, however, women and men shifted their speech towards gendered patterns. Men’s talk increased, their utterances became longer, and they asked fewer questions of their partners. Women increased their use of minimal responses, reduced the amount they spoke, and asked more questions. Over time, women and men’s language became more clearly differentiated.

Source: “Gender Preferential Responses to Speech” from Journal of Language and Social Psychology

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