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Thread: Be Careful How You Write

  1. #1
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Exclamation Be Careful How You Write

    It's an old "cliche," but seems to be true:

    Your Writing Reveals Something Personal

    How you write--that is, how you string together verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs to form a sentence like this one--bears an invisible stamp that actually reveals your gender.
    Women use more pronouns: I, you, she, he, their, myself. Women write about people and relationships.
    Men focus on words that identify or determine nouns: a, the, that. Men also use words that quantify those nouns: one, two, more. Men write about things.

    This is the word from researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, who developed a computer program that uses a simple algorithm to analyze writing style and determine the author's gender, reports Nature News Service. Apparently, at some deep, unconscious level, we can't hide who we are. Just by scanning key words and syntax, the computer program is 80 percent accurate at detecting if a nonfiction book or novel was written by a man or a woman. As Nature News says, the program confirms the stereotypes we have about the differences in language use by men and women. Men really do talk more about objects, while women focus more on relationships. Men categorize. Women personalize. Men have an informational style. Women have an involved style.

    Led by Moshe Koppel, the Israeli researchers tested their algorithm on 566 English-language works in numerous genres both fiction and nonfiction that were primarily published after 1975 and were able to correctly ID the author's gender 80 percent of the time. One text that fooled the program was Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day." But the idea that a computer can determine one's gender is creating quite a fuss in some academic quarters. Koppel said when he submitted his research for publication to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, he was rejected "on ideological grounds."

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Very interesting. I can see why people would object to the conclusion of this reseach on "ideological" grounds. It is certainly politically incorrect these days to uphold the old "cliche" that men talk about things (the implication being, about serious and important stuff), while women talk about emotions and relationships (that is to say, silly fluff).

    As for me, I think my feminine side is well delveloped. So who is Michelle dating now?

    Mathman

  3. #3
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Ah shucks! They don't have to analyze my writing through computer software. I am a female. Do ya see any pronouns?

  4. #4
    Gone with the wind windspirit's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mathman
    Very interesting. I can see why people would object to the conclusion of this reseach on "ideological" grounds. It is certainly politically incorrect these days to uphold the old "cliche" that men talk about things (the implication being, about serious and important stuff), while women talk about emotions and relationships (that is to say, silly fluff).
    I think that we are taught it's true, at least to some degree, that men value "things" more and women value relationships more, etc., but I don't see anything here worth taking offense for (this is to PC people). For one, I don't think that relationships and emotions are silly stuff (I wouldn't have had to take a whole course about emotions in college if they were that silly ), so why would I take offense? OK, now, that must mean I am a woman. So far, so good.

    As for talking about it, unless I'm involved in any way (personally, or through people close to me), I'm not really interested in talking about it. I couldn't care less who's dating whom. Actually, I find discussions about it a little boring. So, maybe I'm a man, after all... Don't you just love stereotypes?

    Plus, why people think that men don't like to gossip? My experience says that they most certainly do.

    Ladskater: Led by Moshe Koppel, the Israeli researchers tested their algorithm on 566 English-language works in numerous genres both fiction and nonfiction that were primarily published after 1975 and were able to correctly ID the author's gender 80 percent of the time.
    When it comes to books, there's something to it, I agree (as a woman, who writes... ), but on the other hand, there are tons and tons of great books about interactions among people, relationships, emotions, etc., that were written by men. Some of them were gay, though, I'll give them (the researchers) that, lol.
    Last edited by windspirit; 11-29-2003 at 02:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Fascinating! If you are really interested in the subject, here is the link to the whole study. (Note: if you decide to look it, note that the tables are all lumped at the end, starting on page 22)

    I found it interesting how the program was created. It was fed different texts and told if it was written by males or females. The program then analyzed it to come up with a set of differences. In essence, it was the computer that came up with the algorithm it then used!

    The article only noted a couple of things, here are those that I find important:

    • The main difference is that yes, men use more articles and numbers, and woman use more pronouns. In essence, a man is more likely to say "The three triple jumps Michelle performed were stunning", when a woman is more likely to say, "I was stunned by Michelle's jumps".
    • The main "relationship" involved is the relationship between the writer and the reader. Male form: "Anyone would be amazed"; female: "You would be amazed".
    • Men use more of "we", "they", and women use more "I", "he", "she".
    • Women use "he" and "she" more, and men use "it" more.
    • Men use references to place and time more.
    • There are some very interesting examples in the article. For example, a man might start an articels by "The aim of this article is...", whereas a woman might start by "My aim in this article is..." I find it interesting, because it makes me think that some things we were taught in High School about writing were on some level to keep out writing more "male". (We were definitely discouraged ffrom using first person.)
    • I think the study's most interesting aspect is working with non-fiction (where, predictably, some differences did not apply at all). While what people choose to write about in fiction may be more influenced by society and such, how non-fiction is written really indicates the difference in how we think.
    • the study's publishers raise several interesting questions. Quote: Do males and females read different kinds and amounts of text? Are they invited to imitate some texts rather than other texts? Do the meanings in some texts, as encoded by the particular sets of linguistic features, resonate with different views of the world?

  6. #6
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    THAT was very interesting. Anyone would find it so. Any man would fall in love with the six triple jumps that Michelle did in her LP at Worlds, worthy of at least 74.2 total points in CoP scoring, including +16.8 GOE.

    There is a theory that all of these differences have a genetic component that can be traced back to selective advantages favoring cultures which developed a strict division of labor in a hunting and gathering subsistence economy. Men hunt, women gather. So men should be strong and silent, the better to hunt, while women should be the better communicators. Also, men are better at singlemindedly pursuing a goal to the exclusion of all distractions, while women can do several things at once (gather acorns, chat with their friends about who is sleeping with whom -- information that is very important in terms of the social and economic dynamics of the tribe -- and take care of babies, all at the same time).

    Probably a load of crap, but there you are.

    Mathman
    Last edited by Mathman; 12-02-2003 at 10:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    I used to really laugh at my hubby. He would come home from the barber shop with all kinds of gossip and at the beauty shop they didn't talk about anyone at all.

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