Have you ever heard that women talk more than men? It seems to be a commonly shared assumption, one meant to differentiate male and female characteristics, and, for us girls, it’s not exactly a good thing. That story is just one of many linguistic myths being challenged by University of Utah linguistics professor Abby Kaplan in her new book Women Talk More Than Men…and Other Myths about Language Explained (Cambridge University Press).
“This is often framed as a bad thing – that women talk too much,” writes Kaplan. “Globally and historically, the common view has been that women’s ways of speaking – whatever we think they are – are inferior to men’s.” But, with the help of research and case studies, Kaplan is dispelling this myth and others. One study that constantly recorded over 400 college students over the course of a few days showed no difference between men and women; we both speak an average of 16,00 words per day.
Pick up a copy of Women Talk More Than Men (from King’s English and probably other local bookstores) to find out if texting is making you dumb, and whether apes can really use language to communicate their thoughts with humans.