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Men are Chatterboxes too!

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Who speaks more, men or women? Most wouldn't hesitate to answer that women have a greater gift of gab. Jokes abound, and comedians have made careers out of just how much women talk. But research some may find surprising indicates that both men and women speak more or less equally.

Researchers recorded the daily conversations of 400 university students in the United States and Mexico over a period of several days. After analyzing the data, they discovered that women used a tad more than 16,000 words each day. Men, however, used just a bit less than 16,000 words. With almost no difference in the numbers, and well within any margin or error, it's safe to consider men and women in a statistical dead heat. The report does admit that, as men and women age, the numbers could change.

The prevailing idea that women are chatterboxes, while men only speak when they have something important to say, likely comes down to cultural and political sexism. But the study does offer a few comments on what the genders talk about. For example, men gossip just as much as women. Another stereotyped smashed in the study is that women mostly talk about trivial matters. They don't, or at least no less than men do. But women actually talk more about relationships.

An expert in the field of gender studies has a slightly different opinion. She doesn't disagree with the study, but suggests that these assumptions could have originated when men and women argue. Unfortunately, the study can't shed any light on how speaking patterns change in an argument. But other studies have lent credence to the idea that guys get quiet and women talk more during an emotional conflict.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. Women talk more than men.
  2. Men only speak when there's something important to say.
  3. Men and women love gossip equally.
  4. Men talk more about relationships than women.
  5. Men: Women talk too much! // Women: Men don't talk enough!

True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. According to the article, many people believed that men speak less than women.
  2. More than four hundred students participated in the research.
  3. The report isn't sure if women speak more than men later in life.
  4. Men don't gossip as much as women.
  5. According to the article, men tend to become quiet when they argue with women.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Who do you think speaks more, men or women?
  2. What other stereotypes are there about men? Are they true or false? Why?
  3. What other stereotypes are there about women? Are they true or false? Why?
  4. What do you think of stereotypes in general? Are they good, bad, based on reality? Why do you think so?
  5. Will this research change the men's and women's opinions of one another? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "chatterboxes" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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