2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Direction Giving: A Linguistic Analysis
Joanna M. Ristow* and Lainey R. Seyler
Dr. Mary Shapiro, Faculty Mentor

A common belief among Americans is that women and men have different methods for giving directions. Women are generally labeled as poor direction givers and followers. We performed background research to familiarize ourselves with both anecdotal and empirical evidence on the topic, e.g., Lawton (1999, 2001) and Sanders (online, no date). In our study, each of five investigators chose 25 male and 25 female participants, who were asked for directions to a local Mexican restaurant. The investigators recorded by hand a few specific variables of each participant’s response, and these were later compiled and compared. Little to no linguistic variance between the sexes was found. Previous studies have been conducted in laboratory or other contrived settings, but our direct fieldwork was intended to be absolutely natural in that participants were not aware they were part of a study. This may explain the discrepancy between our study and other investigations.

Keywords: directions, linguistics, gender differences


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-5
Location: VH 1320
Time: 9:30

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