Gender Variation in the Writings of Ghanaian Colleges of Education Students: A Study of Syntactic Complexity

Richard Ansah, Ebenezer Agbaglo, Regina A. T. Mensah

Abstract


This study explored the differences in the writings produced by both male and female students in colleges of education in Ghana with respect to syntactic complexity. The study was based on a corpus of two hundred examination essays which were collected from two hundred students in Assin Fosu, Wesley and Presbyterian colleges of education who took the English language Studies course (FDC 211) in 2018/2019 academic year. The study adopted a descriptive design, involving qualitative and quantitative methods. The analysis showed that the male students were more syntactically complex than the female students in their writings. The study established clear variations in the areas of length of production unit, sentence complexity, amount of subordination and coordination and particular structures. It has therefore upheld the difference version of gender and language theory as compared to the discursive theory. Implications and areas for further research are also discussed.

Keywords


Colleges Of Education, Examination Essays, Gender Variation, Ghana, Students, Syntactic Complexity

Full Text:

PDF

References


Afful, J. B. A. (2005). A Rhetorical Analysis of Examination Essays in Three Disciplines: The Case of Ghanaian Undergraduate Students. Unpublished Phd Thesis. National University of Singapore.

Akhter, S., & Kusakabe, K. (2014). Gender-based violence among documented Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 21(2), 225-246.

Amedahe, F. K. (2002). Notes on Educational Research. Cape Coast: University of Cape Coast. (Unpublished).

Aperocho, M. D. B. (2016). Lexical and syntactic features of the male and female students argumentative essays. University of Min. Intl. Mult. Res. Journal, 1(1), 213-226.

Baron, S. N. (2004). See You on Line: Gender Issues in College Students Use of Instant Messaging. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 23(4), 397 - 423.

Beattie, G. W. (1982). Turn-taking and interruption in political interviews: Margaret Thatcher and Jim Callaghan compared and contrasted. Semiotica, 39(1/2), 93-114.

Bellhouse, D. R. (2005). Systematic sampling methods. Encyclopaedia of biostatistics, 8. 13(6), 522- 525.

Biber, D., Gray, B., & Poonpon, K. (2011). Should we use characteristics of conversation to measure grammatical complexity in L2 writing development?. TESOL Quarterly, 45(1), 5- 35

Cameron, D. (2006). Gender and the English Language. in B. Aarts & A. Mc Mahon (Eds). The Handbook of English Linguistics. Oxford, US: Blackwell.

Cohen, L. Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education 5th Edition. New York: Routledge.

Cooper, T. C. (1976). Measuring written syntactic patterns of second language learners of German. The Journal of Educational Research, 69(5), 176-183.

Creswell, J.W (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Culture of Disciplines. SRHE and Open University Press: Buckingham.

Dubois, B. L. & Crouch, I. (1975). The question of tag questions in women's speech: They don't really use more of them, do they?. Language in Society, 289-294.

Eriksson, M., et al. (2012). Differences between girls and boys in emerging language skills: Evidence from 10 language communities. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30(2), 326–343.

Graddol, D., & Swami, J. (1989) Gender Voices. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Herring, S.C. (1994). Politeness in Computer: Why Women Thank and Men Flame. Cultural Performances. Proceedings of the Third Berkeley Women and Language Conference. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Women and Language Group.

Holmes, J. (1993). Women’s Talk: The Question of Sociolinguistic Universal. Australian Journal of Communication, 20, 125-149.

Horowitz, D. M (1986). Essay Examination Prompts and the Teaching of Academic Writing. English for Specific Purposes, 5 (2), 107-120.

Horowitz, D. M. (1989). Function and Form in Essay Examination Prompts. RELC Journal, 20 (2), 23-35.

Hunt, K. W. (1965). Grammatical structures written and three grade levels (Research Report No.3). Champaign, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Hunt, K. W. (1970). Syntactic maturity in schoolchildren and adults. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 35(1), iii-67.

Hyde, J. S., & Linn, M. C. (1988). Gender differences in verbal ability: A metaanalysis. Psychological Bulletin, 104(1), 53–69.

Jespersen, O. (1922). The woman. In language: Its nature, development, and origin. London: Allen and Unwin. Reprinted in Deborah Cameron, (ed.) (1990). The feminist critique of language: A reader (pp. 201-20). New York: Routledge.

Jones, S., & Myhill, D.A. (2007). Discourses of difference? Examining gender differences in linguistic characteristics of writing. Canadian Journal of Education 30, 2 (2007): 456‐482

Kirk, R. E. (1995). Experimental design. Pacific Grove: Brooks.

Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and woman’s place. New York: Harper Colophon Books.

Lu, X. (2010). Automatic analysis of syntactic complexity in second language writing. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 15(4), 474-496.

Marjanovič-Umek, L., & Fekonja-Peklaj, U. (2017). Gender differences in children’s language: a meta-analysis of Slovenian studies. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 7(2), 97-111.

McGroarty, M. (1996) Language attitudes, motivation, and standards. In S. L. McKay & N. H. Hornberger (Eds), Sociolinguistics and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McMillan, J. R., Clifton, A. K., McGrath, D., & Gale,W. S. (1977).Women’s language: Uncertainty or interpersonal sensitivity and emotionality? Sex Roles, 3, 545–559.

Mulac, A., & Lundell, T. L. (1994). Effects of gender-linked language differences in adults’ written discourse: Multivariate tests of language effects. Language & Communication, 14, 299–309

Mulac, A., Seibold, D. R., & Farris, J. L. (2000). Female and male managers’ and professionals’ criticism giving: Differences in language use and effects. Journal of Language & Social Psychology, 19(4), 389–415.

Mulac, A., Studley, L. B., & Blau, S. (1990). The gender-linked effect in primary and secondary students’ impromptu essays. Sex Roles, 23, 439–469.

Mulac, A., Wiemann, J. M., Widenmann, S. J., & Gibson, T. W. (1988). Male/female language differences and effects in same-sex and mixed-sex dyads: The gender-linked language effect. Communication Monographs, 55, 315–335.

Nasseri, M. (2016). A Corpus-based Analysis of Syntactic Complexity measures in the Academic Writing of EFL, ESL, and Native English Master’s Students. Unpublished Thesis. University of Birmingham, UK.

Newman, M., Groom, C., Handelman, L., & Pennebaker, J. (2008). Gender Differences In Language Use: An Analysis Of 14,000 Text Samples. Discourse Processes,( ) 211-236.

Obeng, J. (2012). Gender Variation in the use Noun Phrases in the writings of students of University of Cape Coast. Unpublished MPhil Thesis. University of Cape Coast.

Ortega, L. (2012). Interlanguage complexity: a construct in search of theoretical renewal. In B. Szmrecsanyi & B. Kortmann (Eds.), Linguistic complexity: Second language acquisition, indigenization, contact Languages (pp. 127-155). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Osuala, E.C. (1991). Introduction to Research Methodology, Onitsha: Africa FEP Publishers.

Pallant, J. (2010) SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS. 4th Edition. Open University Press: McGaw Hill, Maidenhead.

Punter, A. and Burchell, H. 1996. Gender issues in GCSE English assessment. British Journal of Curriculum and Assessment, 6, 2: 20-4. Retrieved April, 23, 2004 from Education news & resources at the Times Educational Supplement.

Singh, A. S. & Masuku, M. B. (2014). Normality and Data Transformation for Applied Statistical Analysis. International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management, 1-11.

Spender, D. (1980). Man made language. London: Routledge.

Tannen, D. (1990). You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: William Morrow.

Thomson, R., & Murachver, T. (2001). Predicting gender from electronic discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 193–208.

Waskita, D. (2008). Differences in men's and women's ESL academic writing at the University of Melbourne. Jurnal Sosioteknologi, 7(14), 448-463.

Wolfe-Quintero, K., Inagaki, S., & Kim, H.-Y. (1998). Second language development in writing: Measures of fluency, accuracy, and complexity. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Zimmerman, D. & West, C. (1975). Sex Roles, Interruptions and Silences in Conversation. In B. Thorne, & N. Henley, (eds.) Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance, (pp. 105-129). Rowley, Mass: Newbury House.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.4.p.140

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.