Gender – A Decisive Character For Speakers In Language Processing

Have you ever noticed and compared the speaking skills of a male and a female? If not, then you need to do it now and get to know the uncommon things as a recently conducted study reveals that the sex has a major influence on the language processing of an individual. It determines the speed and accuracy of understanding words.

This study was carried out by the scholars of University of Kansas. The results convey that on the basis of the gender of speaker, grammatical gender and language may be understood and interpreted different among the listeners.

Language Processing

In order to explain this to others, an experiment was set up with the motive of showcasing how sex can affects the listener’s speed of identifying words grammatically. The results of the experiment showed that even the higher level processes were affected which can easily be identified on the basis of the gender of the speaker.

There are several languages like Spanish in which words can be differentiated on the basis of gender. The “o” ending words are considered as masculine while the “a” ending words are taken as feminine. The scientists explained how sex can affect the accuracy and speed of listeners in identifying the Spanish words and differentiating them as feminine and masculine.

It was observed that with the mismatch of the gender of speaker and gender of word, the listeners had slow speed of identifying the spoken word as masculine or feminine and hence the accuracy was reduced.

Michael Vitevitch, psychology professor in KU said that syntax and grammar have been considered as automatic. Other brain processes can not affect the process of word recognition. As the brain processes the sound signal, the gender of speaker and their dialect is left ignored and the brain stores the signals in the abstract form. Introduced by the famous philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky, this model known as abstractionist model explains how we remember and store words in our memory.

According to Vitevitch, the study reveals that it is not only the language recognition processing that is affected by the gender of the individual but also the higher level processes that are linked with grammar.

So, this was a different study that has brought up new facts about the learning and recognition power of the listeners which is greatly affected by the sex of the speakers.

Plos One is the journal that published this story and brought this interesting news in front of the readers.