The Role of Language in Communication The role of language is crucial in this process of relationships.
Language shapes reality, and it limits what ideas and concepts are
available in a particular situation. In all aspects of our lives we
engage with, resist, reframe with, the meanings available through
language, to give meaning to every aspect of our lives. Ideas and
understandings available through language shape our practice in a
variety of ways in everyday interactions.
It has been well known since the beginning of time that men and women
are on different wavelengths when it comes to communicating. The
differences between the communication styles of men and women go far
beyond mere socialization, and appear to be inherent in the basic make
up of each sex (Lee, Shaw). For males, conversation is the way you
negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you
around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the
other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk
is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and
talking (Lee, Shaw). For boys, activities, doing things together, are
central. Just sitting and talking is not an essential part of
friendship. They're friends with the boys they do things with.
In respect to the language used by male and females, they differ,
sometimes unnoticeably. Women use more polite speech and fewer
profanities. They use intensifiers and are likely to turn statements
into questions (Lee, Shaw). Women have a higher pitched voice, which
is thought of as less forceful and confident. Women use more
fortifications and verification during conversation and are more
likely to include nonverbal confirmations such as eye contact and head
nods (Lee, Shaw). Men are more likely to interrupt in conversations
and change the subject in the process. Men also make statements
instead of raising questions because they are not looking for a
response; they are simply stating an imperative (Lee, Shaw).
Males tend to give orders as a way of gaining social status.
High-status males give orders just to maintain their dominance, not
because they particularly needed the anything done (Lee, Shaw). Males
who are being told what to do are thought of as low status, by virtue
of doing what they were told. This dynamic is important to remember
when looking at another major area of miscommunication between men and
women. Women cannot understand the resistance men seem to have when
asked for assistance or consideration of some kind or another. Women
must understand that, for men, doing what they're asked to do means
they have lost status in that relationship (Lee, Shaw). Men often feel
that women are trying to manipulate...