Gender is an integral part of one’s identity. From the sociological perspective, gender is the distinction between masculinity and femininity defined, modified and reinforced by society and culture (Holmes, 2007; Little, 2013). Indicators of gender include socially-shaped feelings, attitudes and behaviors, each with starkly contrastive patterns between men (masculine) and women (feminine). Speech is one such indicator. Even in casual conversations, gender differences can be readily observed in certain use of linguistic features. By examining a movie excerpt from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), this paper aims at decoding those gendered interactions and their impacts on cross-gender communication.
The sociological differences between…show more content… The analyses of two conversational extracts demonstrate that generalized observations of gendered interactions are well followed in the video clip. Sonny the younger man seems to focus most on his right to communicate fully and precisely what he wants, whereas Mrs. Kapoor is more aware of sharing and discussing different ideas between the two parties. The positive impact of such adherence is the extension in both quantity and quality of the cross-gender talks. Although the exchanges are initially set in a rather hostile atmosphere, they actually last long enough for disclosing valuable information with diverse topics (siblings, business and marriage) and great depths (i.e. lines 1-5 & 8-9 about Sonny’s ambition, lines 12-13 &16-17 about Mrs. Kapoor’s opinions). As Mrs. Kapoor facilitates turns and Sonny elaborates utterances, the conversations go on quite smoothly and transfer successfully the fundamental ideologies of one speaker’s to another. Nonetheless, because their opinions are mutually made known and clear, both Mrs. Kapoor and Sonny recognize their opposite standpoints in every matter under debate. This is where the negative impacts arise: the contrasting styles of communication, coupled with chasm in beliefs, exacerbate the conflict between two participants. Fierce disagreement is the chief tone of those mother-son dialogues, which persists until the end of the movie scene. There are times when the characters apparently try to steal the turns from each other (extract 1), or aggressively intervene to voice their complete objection (lines 14-18, extract 2). It is also striking that verbalized backchannels, or fillers “yeah”, “ummhmm” indicative of deep listening and involvement, are evidently absent in the extracts. As the lack of such cues can cause “an inference of disagreement” (Yule, 1996, p.76; Wood, 2010), it is possibly attributed to the escalated dispute between Mrs. Kapoor and Sonny throughout the