Cross Gender Oral Communication from Biological Difference and Socialized Identity to Mutual Understanding
Keywords:Cross- gender communication, computer-mediated communication, dominance, gender difference, gender identity
Language is an indispensable instrument whereby we organize and build our social ties in our communities, and society at large. Human language is critically interwoven into the processes whereby human beings communicate, build knowledge, transmit information, and determine the identity of both the addresser and the addressee in any communicational exchange. We could hypothetically assert that if there is unmistakably one thing without which man as a species can hardly live in the social realm, it is language par excellence. In an admittedly multi-layered and inherently complex sociolinguistic configuration, the individual speaker’s linguistic choice, the different roles he or she plays, be they in a position of addresser or addressee, and the various situations where the speech takes place do serve as markers reflecting one’s identity and communication styles. In this respect, factors such as sex, age, level of education, occupation, race, and geographical origin can virtually be reflected via one’s speech. This article sets out to analyze (1) the influential role of speech, (2) gender and identity, (3) dominance/difference, and (4) cross-gender oral communication in the Moroccan context using a homogenous convenience sample of Moroccan participants. This study falls within the scope of gender studies. Its major aim is to demonstrate the roles that mixed-gendered interlocutors can play in order to maintain effective communication. Therefore, their perceptions regarding interruptions, conversation dominance, turn-taking and choice of topics in conversations are analyzed. Different research instruments have been implemented to collect data including recordings of real-life conversational speech, classroom observation, and interviews. The findings indicate that gender-based differences permeate the conversational styles of both men and women across cultures and with divergent degrees of strength and expression. It has also been shown that although communication breakdown is a source of frustration, it remains a common phenomenon in social interactions. Therefore, overcoming difficulties in maintaining effective communication between members of different genders is dependent on the interlocutors’ belief that accepting difference in language and communication styles can make cross-gender communication a satisfactory social experience. This study is expected to raise awareness regarding the socialization processes the two sex groups have gone through which shape in substantial ways the way they speak, behave and interact among each other.
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