The Differences in Communicating between People of Different Age, Gender, and Occupation

The Differences in Communicating between People of Different Age, Gender, and Occupation

An ability to communicate without experiencing any difficulties is essential for building successful and easy life. Both professional and private individual’s lives depend on the way one manages to communicate. Almost every employer thinks highly of somebody who is communicative, especially if one’s duty is to deal with other people. What is more, communicative person’s private life is much easier because of having no retardations in establishing relations with otther people. Moreover, because of having remarkable communicative skills one finds it easy to persuade other people. Thus, communicative speakers can much easier and faster reach their aims. The way speakers communicate ‘has something to do with their social position or level of education’ (Crystal 1992:38). In addition, age and gender play an important role in people’s communicating. In other words, the way individuals communicate is affected by the particular social group one belongs to.

People who identify themselves as members of a social group (family, neighborhood, professional or ethnic affiliation, nation) acquire common ways of viewing the world through their interactions with other members of the same group. These views are reinforced through institutions like the family, the school, the workplace, th

he church, the government, and other sites of socialization throughout their lives. Common attitudes, beliefs, and values are reflected in the way members of the group use language – for example, what they choose to say or not to say and how they say it (Kramsch 1998:6).

Nevertheless, this paper will be dealing with the concrete differences in communicating of the particular social groups. What is more, the paper will present the factors which make the speech of various speakers dissimilar. In addition, the way particular speakers express their solidarity and distance to concrete social groups will be presented too.

One of the most important functions of language variation is to enable individuals to identify with a social group or to separate themselves off it. The markers of solidarity and distance may relate to family, sex, ethnicity, social class or to any of the groups and institutions that define the structure of society. They may involve tiny sections of the population, such as scout groups and street gangs, or complete cross – sections, such as religious bodies and political parties. The signals can be small as a single word, phrase or pronunciation, or as large as a whole language (Crystal 1992:42).

Although lots of factors wh

hich make individuals’ communicating different were stated in the quotation above, the paper will be dealing only with the differences of communicating appearing in the areas of age, gender and occupation.

The first difference in people’s communicating appears in the area of age. Individuals of different ages are thought to use dissimilar vocabularies. Thus, the ways in which people of different age communicate are not the same. One of the most important factors, causing the differences in non-contemporaries’ lexicon is the usage of slang. Slang is ‘one mark of an informal style’ (Fromkin and Rodman 1974:426). In addition, slang is ‘a group phenomenon, a set of words used by, and identifiable with, some particular part of society’ (Falk 1973:56). Generally slang is used in an attempt to give more expression to particular words and to catch the attention of the listener (Falk 1973:56). What is more, ‘the use of slang is a way to achieve identification with a group’ (Falk 1973:56). Thus, members of one particular group are thought to use extremely similar vocabularies (a membership to a concrete band or group display especially by the usage of similar slang words). Moreover, the usage of slang words may help in distinguishing the members of one gr

roup from another. Although the usage of slang ‘continues to arose strong emotional reactions in many people’ (Falk 1973:54) every individual uses slang. The only differences found are the amount of the slang words used and the quality of these words.

‘Slang used by parents is rarely the same as that of their children’ (Falk 1973:56). Parents often feel dissatisfied with their children’s lexicon full of various slang words. Nevertheless, parents use a lot of slang words too. Yet, slang of individuals from older generations differs from the slang used by youngsters. First of all, older ones less frequent get used to the usage of new slang words. Slang used by adults is often found as being older and already became non-slang. For example, the word ‘phone’ which ‘was once a slangy, clipped version of a telephone, a TV was of television’ (Fromkin and Rodman 1974:427). The word ‘phone’ was a slang word for adults in their early days, but today it became a standard, everyday word. This example proves, that ‘one generation’s slang is another generation’s standard vocabulary’ (Fromkin and Rodman 1974:427). Secondly, individuals from older age groups may be using more professional slang words because of the influence of their occupation and belonging to

o working-class societies. Thirdly, adults less often start use slang because of the influence of fashion. In addition, it is unusual for older individuals to mark the solidarity or distance to particular groups with the help of slang. However, such solidarity or distance marking is common for younger speakers.Youngsters are though to use slang words more often then the older adults. The usage of slang by teens can be caused by several factors. First of all, young speakers, similarly to adults, use slang words which are common in their surroundings, i.e. school, college. Thus, the use of particular slang may help to identify a teen with a pupil or college student (it depends on the slang one uses). Moreover, by the use of slang pupils or students may be marking the solidarity to other pupils and students, and distance to, for example, chemistry or hospital employees. In addition, the usage of certain slang by youngsters may be caused by a great desire to become a member of a particular band, group, or club. Secondly, in contrast to older speakers, youngsters are believed to be influenced by fashion more easily than adults. The usage of popular slang words makes youngsters feel fashionable and ‘cool’. What is more, being fashionable helps to raise people’s self – esteem. Nonetheless, there was only one difference discussed. Other dissimilarities of humans’ communication will be discussed next.

The second difference in people communicating is found in the area of gender. Men and women are though to speak differently. Nevertheless, there are lots of incorrect assumptions. ‘It is often assumed, for example, that women talk more than men, whereas almost all research on the topic has demonstrated the opposite, that men talk more then women’ (Aitchison 1993:116). The assumption may be extremely incorrect because the talkativeness of an individual is related more with its character than with its gender. In addition, one more unproved claim states that ‘women use ‘empty’ adjectives such as divine, charming, cute’ (Aitchison 1993:116).

They [women] have also been accused of using question intonation in response to queries: ‘About eight o’clock?’ as a reply to: ‘What time’s dinner?’ Yet this insecure style of conversation seems to be typical of powerless’ people, those who are somewhat nervus and afraid of antagonizing others (Aitchison 1993:116).

Nonetheless, people of both sexes may be suffering from psychological powerlessness. Thus there is no right to accuse only female speakers of experiencing the feeling of powerlessness. One more difference between men and women communicating is ‘a tendency for women to speak in a way that is closer to the prestige standard’ (Aitchison 1993:116). There is no proper explanation for this assumption. However, such a tendency for women’s speaking may appear because of ‘the society pressure to behave in a ‘lady-like’ manner’ (Aitchison 1993:117).Moreover, lots of other factors may give an explanation for this feature of women’s speaking. Finally, although ‘differences between communicating of men and women are though to be decreasing’ (Aitchison 1993:117), some inequalities will probably remain.

The third and final difference in the people communicating is found in the area of ones’ occupation. People from various professions are thought to have slightly different vocabularies. In other words, they are said to be using different jargon. Jargon is ‘a set of special vocabulary, terms which designate concepts and phenomena with which the profession is concerned’ (Falk 1973:57). Additionally, jargon may be understood as ‘a set of words, some of which are considered to be “slang” and others “technical”, depending on the status of the people using these “in” words’ (Fromkin and Rodman 1974:428). Some jargon words are thought to be more sophisticated and obscure for common people, as for example the word ‘traumata’, while the other are more simple and frequently used in everyday life, like the word ‘morpheme’. A highly doctors ‘refer to “traumata” when other people would say “injuries”’ (Falk 1973:58). On the other hand, a doctor will find it difficult to fully obscure the jargon of a linguist or vice versa. Nonetheless, a doctor will be able to understand the professional terminology of a pharmacist, because these two professions are related. Thus, the lexicon of different professionals might be extremely dissimilar because of the usage of different jargon. In addition, these dissimilarities can make lots of misunderstandings when various professionals communicate, because of the lack of knowledge of the jargon of other profession.

In conclusion, every individual person communicates in different way. Differences in people speech may be caused by ones’ age, gender, and occupation also. In order to be able to communicate well with various people, one must be aware of the peculiarities of their communication. Thus, the misunderstandings appearing when communicating will be avoided.

List of References

1. Aitchison, J. 1993. Linguistics. Chicago: NTC Publishing Group
2. Crystal, D. 1992. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. London: Cambridge University Press
3. Falk, J. 1973. Language. A Survey of Basic Concepts and Application. Lexington: Xerox College Publishing
4. Fromkin, V., R. Rodman. 1974. An Introduction to Language. Orlando: Harcourt Brace College Publishers
5. Kramsch, C. 1998. Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press

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