Zimmerman and West

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					Zimmerman and West
Their Study
 They recorded 31 conversations, all
  participants were white, middle class and
  under 35.
 In 11 mixed-sex conversations, men used
  46 interruptions, women only 2.
 Many people have doubted the validity of
  their findings for many reasons
   Factors were overlooked by their study.
   The participants used weren’t representative, they were all
    of a certain age group, class and ethnicity. Age or the
    personality of the participants could easily have affected the
    conversations and so alter the findings of their study.
    E.g. there may have been a particularly vocal or dominant
    man speaking.
   The study was carried out once in the same, fixed location.
    In order to be accurate it should have been done in many
    different universities/countries and over a longer period of
Other Studies- Men
   Professor Tannen-
    “men grow up in a world in which
    conversation is competitive… seek[ing] to
    achieve the upper hand or to prevent
    others from dominating them”
    “men see the world as a place where
    people try to gain status”
Other Studies- Women
   Professor Tannen-
    “talking is often a way to gain confirmation
    and support for their ideas”
    “women see the world as „a network of
    connections‟ seeking support and
Other Studies- Mixed Sex Conversations
   Pamela Fishman-
    “in mixed-sex language interactions, men
    speak on average for twice as long as
    “conversation between the sexes
    sometimes fails, not because of anything
    inherent in the way women talk, but
    because of how men respond, or don’t
My Study
 The one thing which I thought was
  problematic was the fact Zimmerman and
  West‟s study was only relevant for UCLA
  where they performed it
 I decided to look at an English household
  instead and also my subjects were married
  couples, adding another dimension to the
  conversations that would take place due to
  their familiarity with each other
My Study
Conversation Analysis
-turn taking is established and there are adjacency pairs
evident but there are lots of overlaps
-as the participants are married this may have affected the
validity of the results- they‟re used to each other and roles of
dominance have probably been establishing over the years
-the woman tends to speak with longer sentences, the man‟s
utterances are shorter in general
-the man‟s utterances are only to either affirm or disagree with
woman‟s prior discourse
My Study
Conversation Analysis
-turn taking is less established than in example 1, overlaps
occur frequently, more so by the woman as she disagrees
with what the man says
-once more the participants are married so this may affect the
results- they have already established the roles of dominance
within the household and perhaps within conversation itself
-after the woman changed the topic slightly, conversation
altered and the rules of turn taking seemed to be established
once more but overlaps occurred after this short section

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