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Ronald Macaulay: Sex Differences Essay

Nowadays, sex differences have become a controversial issue, especially when it comes to language. It has raised many concerns about how it is different between men and women when they talk to each other on a daily basis. In “Sex Differences,” Macaulay addresses the notion that differences in the manner and frequency in which men and women talk are nonsense. Ronald Macaulay proves that such stereotypes should not be used in language because differences in language usage, personalities and social environments are to be considered the most distinguish points of the language usage between men and women.

The way a language is used by a person to speak to one another is all that matters; they pick out their ways for a specific activity or purpose. For instance, Macaulay states that “Both men and woman will use the forms if language, registers, and styles appropriate to the activities in which they are engaged” (309). Notably, women at their natural state are straight forward to the point which they want to express; they talk in a simple manner and in some cases, they raise their voice in order to convince someone effectively. In contrast, men have a creative mind in their language usage.

They always seek for new things to apply in their speech, and their manner goes along with toughness (solid voice) as in the example “Adult males on average have deeper voices than adult females because the vibrating part of the vocal cords is about a third longer in men” (Macaulay, 311). Depending on different activities, a person of either gender has to pick out an effective language usage which best suits the situation that they find themselves involving in. Otherwise, people will criticize the way you talk, whether it is professional or not.

Subsequently, personalities play an important role in determining the actual distinctions between the two genders. Different personalities bring along different people and characteristics. For example, “There have also been certain violent activities, such as fighting or contact sports, that until recently have been exclusively a male province, and there are forms of language appropriate to them that might have been less common among women.”(Macaulay, 309). The author emphasizes that men were born physically and mentally strong. In general, men have become more and more aggressive as they grow up, they desire to succeed in life, and their role in the society also take up a large portion. Women, on the other hand, are naturally shy and innocent. They pick their words carefully and express their ideas in a simple manner, however get straight to the point without going around the corner.

Once again, the author claims that “No doubt the novelists intended to be realistic in describing two very different styles of speech, but in doing so, they also reinforce the stereotypes of men and women.” (Macaulay, 309) Different authors have fooled people into believing that these stereotypes are true and people have come to believe it. Considering this matter, Macaulay puts in another point which clarifies the actual difference between men and women in the English language- social environments. Similarly to language usage, based on different occupations, both men and woman need to pick the way to speak up their inner thoughts to a client or a customer, etc. Many speaking methods are being used by both genders, either negotiating or convincing, males or females have to find the best method of speaking to socialize.

Without a doubt, different countries have different uses of the English language because people need a form of clear communication no matter where they live and work. As an illustration “It would, of course, be surprising if there were not. Both men and women will use the forms of language, registers, and styles appropriate to the activities in which they are engaged. To the extent that these activities differ between males and females, it is to be expected that there language will differ,” (Macaulay, 309) that is to say, social environments and different activities have a greater impact than the gender of a person.

Ultimately, while other authors have always tried to prove that sexism exists in the daily language usage; Ronald Macaulay, the author of “Sex Differences” has the readers to see that it is such a stereotype when comes to sexism in the use of the English language and other languages in general, but it is based on language usage, personalities and social environment. Readers should keep Macaulay’s ideas in mind in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts as well as keeping a friendly and peaceful relationships between opposite genders. Everyone is equal in life, and everyone has the right to speak the way they want regardless of genders.


Work Cited Page
Macaulay, Ronald. “Sex Differences.” Exploring Language. Ed. Gary Goshgarian. 11­th ed. New York: Longman, 2007. Print.

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