Over the past few decades, linguists have shown that, when it comes to speech, many gender stereotypes hold remarkably true: Men tend to speak loudly, while women whisper; men talk over each other, while women conspire behind each other’s backs; men hold back their feelings, while women lay them out to strangers they meet on the subway.
According to some critics, these differences are merely a reflection of our cultural presuppositions about gender.
But, according to a new book, there’s a far simpler reason for these linguistic differences: biology. Locke, a professor of linguistics at Lehman College and the author of “Eavesdropping: An Intimate History,” argues that men and women have radically different ways of speaking not because of their upbringing, but because they have radically different evolutionary needs.
Men, he argues, use antagonistic speech, or “duels,” to show off their strength and prove themselves to women.
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