Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Newsletter
Zones
Advanced Composites
LeftNav
Aerospace
LeftNav
Amorphous Metal Structures
LeftNav
Analysis and Simulation
LeftNav
Asbestos and Substitutes
LeftNav
Associations, Research Organisations and Universities
LeftNav
Automation Equipment
LeftNav
Automotive
LeftNav
Biomaterials
LeftNav
Building Materials
LeftNav
Bulk Handling and Storage
LeftNav
CFCs and Substitutes
LeftNav
Company
LeftNav
Components
LeftNav
Consultancy
LeftNav
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Pro Engineering Zone
 
 
 
News

Responding to insults: Study shows women often more sharp-tongued than men

University Of Bonn (Universit : 13 March, 2007  (Technical Article)
Women, it is said, shy away from conflict, also in their use of language: unlike men, they try to de-escalate a heated verbal dispute. Rubbish, says Ruth-Maria Roth, a student of English language and literature at the University of Bonn. In a recent study she debunked the popular image of female behaviour, which is also shared by linguists, exposing it as a clich
In preparing her dissertation Ruth-Maria Roth interviewed more than 200 British students of both sexes to see how they react to insults. Her findings: while, overall, the male respondents hit back at hostile remarks more frequently than their fellow women students, those women who did go on the verbal counterattack tended to be far more hard-hitting and didn't shrink from swearing.

In an initial questionnaire Roth confronted 116 students at the University of Exeter with eight different insult situations. The subjects were asked to formulate how they would respond in each case. With these replies she was then able to design a second questionnaire offering possible responses to be ticked off, which was presented to 126 other students. By comparing the results, she could confirm that the replies to the first question sheet had been representative.

Blatant language in counter-insults
The female respondents said in at least a fifth of cases that they would not put up with such an insult and would hit back verbally in some way. Among the men this proportion was as high as 35 per cent. However, when a woman does choose to go on the offensive she doesn't hold back: a quarter of women students came up with blatant language in their counter-insult ('fuckshit', 'arsehole', 'bastard'). Of the male students questioned, only 15 per cent got so graphic; most preferred a more subtle reply to the verbal attack - for instance, giving an sarcastic response or making a joke to take the sting out of an insult.

Sign of emancipation?
Do her findings allow us to conclude that emancipation has now reached women's language usage in conflicts? The 26-year-old English language scholar remains sceptical, 'For one thing the method of investigating verbal reactions by means of questionnaires has its weaknesses: How can we be sure whether the participant would actually respond like this in reality?' This dilemma is often difficult to resolve in linguistic enquiries, nevertheless, Roth's supervisor at Bonn University's English Department, Professor Dr. Klaus P. Schneider, rates her work very highly. It is 'the best paper ever to have landed on my desk', not least, he adds, because the subject of 'insults' has so far been completely ignored in linguistics.

On a closer look at motivations, the tendency among some female students to hit back really hard might even point in a quite different direction, namely to a feeling of inferiority. Perhaps they feel forced to overcoming a supposed weakness by going on the offensive and responding in no uncertain terms. As Ruth-Maria Roth concludes, 'After all, the ability to parry an insult with sarcasm, or even just let it go, usually shows you're much more in control of a situation.'
Bookmark and Share
 
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
 
   © 2012 NewMaterials.com
Netgains Logo