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The gender differential use of minimal responses in daytime TV interviews: a preliminary investigation

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journal contribution
posted on 02.06.2017, 02:16 by Pasfield-Neofitou, Sarah E.
It is argued that females use more minimal responses such as mhm as a form of conversational support than men (Maltz & Borker 1982; Cameron 1989; Coates 1993; Tannen 1990; Graddol & Swann 1989). Past research has shown a large stratification between the frequency and type of male and female usage of minimal responses (Fishman 1983; Woods 1989; Zimmerman & West 1975; Maltz & Borker 1982). However, many studies neglect their usage in the media. The aim of this comparative study is to investigate the gender differential use of minimal responses in television interviews, hence the interview segments of two daytime television programs were analysed and compared. Key areas examined were the frequency of minimal responses according to gender of interviewer and interviewee, per second and per adjacency pair. Although in general the results loosely support those of Coates and Cameron (1989) and Zimmerman and West (1975), findings also indicate that the framework of an interview greatly influences minimal response usage, suggesting that status may also play a large role in the use of minimal responses.


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