Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gauging My Lexical Budget

A recent study of the conversational habits of men and women (my source here is Science Daily), suggests that women have been maligned in the past by researchers who purported that they, women, talk significantly more than men.
The new research, done over several years and tracking some 400 college students, asserts that men and women are nearly equal in their amount of chatter. I quote the article, which references the scientist leading the study:

"Mehl confessed to a concern about the homogeneity of the sample - only college students - but said that the study showed no support for the idea that women have larger lexical budgets than men, any more than it did that gender differences in daily word use have a basis in evolution."

Hmmm. I'd never given much thought to my lexical budget, but this certainly is food for thought, and addresses one aspect of a boundless mystery--the distinctions between genders.

I'm sure we can all name taciturn women and loquacious men, but this study gives some validity to the notion that we cannot make assumptions based on gender stereotypes. The mysteries of gender, I'd like to think, are more complex and meaningful.

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