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Tamuang investigated the recurrence of dominance in the Thai culture. He found that men interrupt women more often to show power. Traditionally, men were providers, bringers, care givers and leaders, while women were followers and receivers! Thus, men were supposed to use polite discourse to maintain conversation with men as sources of power. Tamuang realized that male Thai speakers were likely to interrupt females, albeit females supported them to avoid conflicts. The principal reason was that Thai women accepted being subservient and linguistically manipulated by Thai men.


Using mixed-gender dyads, Finlay examined the gendered discourse patterns in video-mediated communication VMC. She drew upon Social Information Processing Theory in her analysis of conversational data and reported that men were anticipated to utilize more intrusive interruptions, assertive language, and speak more than women, irrespective of condition. On the other hand, Women were expected to use more positive and tentative language in both VMC and face-to-face conditions. Dominant language was also anticipated to mediate the tie between gender and perceived dominance.

Moreover, the researchers paid more attention to how conversational dominance is achieved, maintained, and reproduced by taking full account of its context. Quantitative analyses alone, however, cannot unfold the complex relationship between conversational dominance, style and associated attributes. A comprehensive picture of gendered conversational dominance, therefore, requires refinement of the analytical framework for data analysis.

Moreover, the findings need to be triangulated and interpreted considering qualitative analysis of conversational styles and orientations. Therefore, the issues that this study addresses are, first, how men and women, by resorting to varying strategies, maintain their control over conversation. Second, it aims at finding out the role of gender in conversational dominance among Persian EFL learners in classroom conversations while trying to find out those techniques through which speakers prove their dominance over the classroom conversations and whether those techniques vary among male and females.

This study aims to explore the role of gender in conversational dominance by analyzing 40 min of male-female conversation in English L2. The participants were graduate students 10 male and 10 female students , between ages 18 and 25, majoring in different majors that took part in an English class in Sadr Institute of Higher Education.

They were not told the purpose of the research but were simply asked to hold conversations with the partners with whom they had been paired.

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In order to control the variables that might influence patterns of interaction as far as possible, participants were asked to choose their topic of interest among hot topics and they were asked to agree upon the topic of their conversations with their partners. All of the participants agreed upon four conversation topics. First topic went around the role of women in Iranian society. Second topic was about the role of money in your our life, the third was about an ideal partner and the last about the role of hijab in Iranian society.

Conversations were held in a lively and natural manner.

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All the session was audiotaped and then transcribed. Conversations were audiotaped and videotaped and then transcribed. After collecting conversation transcripts, 10 conversation pairs were on the desk. The transcripts went through content analysis based on the guidelines for analyzing qualitative data Berg, The researchers analyzed all turns of each conversation transcript for investigating the patterns of initiating, maintaining and dominating the topic of conversation. The researchers tried to follow the pattern of strategies men and women apply in order to take control of conversation.

The researchers investigated the issue of topic dominance by five parameters: 1. The focus on these five strategies is because of their incidence of occurrence compared to other strategies used for provoking dominance. As mentioned by Tannen , interruption is the primary reason for conversation failure.

The effusive talker, who by no means is a conversationalist, fails to recognize the fact that conversation requires partnership. Analysis of transcripts revealed that men are, overall, more likely to interrupt than women. The incidents of interruptions are presented in Table 1. Quantitative data revealed that men produced more interruptions in three topics and only for one of the topics role of hijab in Iranian society women produced more interruptions.

Table 1. The incidents of self-oriented vs. Table 2. Incidents of self-oriented vs. The male speakers tended to interrupt the female speakers when the female speakers started to present a contrary view, and they resumed their speaking immediately following the interruption. When the male speakers resumed their topic after being interrupted, the female speakers readily supported their resumption of topic.

Accordingly, they used various types of discourse strategies: using initiating moves to establish sense of being more knowledgeable and accomplished about the topic, claiming to be more significant persona as a man in society who knows social issues more than women who spend more time at home! Most conversations follow topic focused patterns with various participants bringing up different subjects for conversation. The changing of a topic of conversation is a topic shift and signals a conversational dominance or potential avoidance of a subject.

Demonstrating power in a conversation means utilizing topic shifts to your advantage. Power maintenance with topic shifts means being aware when someone else tries to move away from a topic. Power failure means giving the other participants the opportunity to direct the topic.

What topics are they moving away from? What topics do they return to? What topics are they comfortable with? The incidents of topic shifting are presented in Table 3. Quantitative data showed that men shifted the topic more in three topics and only for one of the topics role of money in our life women utilized topic shifting strategies more than men.

Table 3. The following excerpt from the data illustrates instances of male dominance by shifting the topic:. The qualitative findings revealed that the male speakers attempted to shift the topic when the woman talked about their abilities and expertise to safer one at some critical moments of conversation. Moreover, men used technical terms and sentences to dominate the conversation. In contrast, females utilized simpler and more general words. Additionally, women achieved their fluency by offering support, acceptance and empathy. Compared to women, men produced higher amount of speech whilst women used back channeling strategies e.

Hmm, etc. Men by asking question tried to shift the topic to their advantage, refused to talk about uncomfortable issues, challenged women, got control of conversation and maintained their dominance.

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When men asked questions they shifted the topic to their topic of expertise. So, they changed the topic to their own benefit and tried to prove their controlling role in conversation. The incidents of asking questions are presented in Table 4.

Based on quantitative data, men raised more questions in three topics and only for one of the topics role of hijab in Iranian society women nominated more questions than men. Table 4. Another excerpt includes instances of male dominance by asking questions which also can show masculine aggressiveness:. The qualitative findings of this study revealed that men popped questions to put to exert power and control over female partners and decide upon the direction of talk. Consequently, topic development was affected by creating a gap between the two speakers regarding knowledge and experience.

The results show men used strong criticism to provoke passiveness and silence among women and then got control of the conversation. After receiving criticism women tried to show acceptance and by using backchanneling they tried to be more a hearer than a speaker. Women in most of the cases even quit their ideas as soon as they received a kind of criticism and maybe this was due to their self-confidence.

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The incidents of criticisms are presented in Table 5. It reveals that in all four topics men used strong criticisms more than women to dominate the conversation. Table 5. The qualitative findings showed that male speakers tried to criticize their female partner intermittently to decrease their confidence and ensure their dominance over them. It is assumed that powerful people do talk and powerless people remain silent. Oppressors silence weak people and rob their ability and even right to speak.

According to Spender , men dominate women by silencing them. Coates argues that in some cultures women and children are encouraged to keep silence. It has long been assumed that men dominate women by volubility. However, volubility is not a self-sufficient sign of conversational dominance. The incidents of silence found in the present study are presented in Table 6. It shows that in all four topics men practiced silence more than women. Table 6.

As the man exercised power on her by long pauses and less attempts to turn to take, she insisted more to maintain conversation by timed length of talk. Thus, silence and volubility should be interpreted considering the setting and the culture of speakers. There are cases in which men do little of the talking but they are dominating the conversation.

Adolescent gender differences in time alone and time devoted to conversation.

This study investigated the role of gender in the quality of conversational dominance in informal conversations among Persian EFL learners. The results of this study echoed the findings of the previous studies e. In dominance theory developed by Fishman , it is mentioned that in mixed-sex conversations men are more likely to interrupt than women. Spender endorsed a radical view of language as incorporating structures that support male power.

She proposed that in the study of Zimmerman and West male is viewed as norm, while patriarchal order is of concern for her. She further argues that it is especially hazardous to challenge this power system, since the way we conceive the world is part of this male power. However, not all studies found a clear-cut pattern of males interrupting females.