1887
Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Abstract

Both men and women use minimal responses. Some studies, however, show functional differences (differences with regard to the organization of a conver-sation) as well as differences in the meaning of these responses (resulting in different paraphrases) between the sexes. For instance, Maltz and Borker (1982) argue that the minimal responses used by women can be interpreted as 'I am liste-ning, go on', whereas the minimal responses used by men can be interpreted as 'I agree with you'. Furthermore, they argue that women use minimal responses more often than men.As a member of the Moluccan (speech) community I was very surprised by these arguments. In the Moluccan speech community many minimal responses are used in daily conversations. According to my intuitions, gender differences in the use of minimal responses do not exist. Furthermore, I argue that the meanings and functions of the minimal responses used by Moluccan speakers are more differentiated than the meanings and functions of the minimal responses found in the literature.To test my intuitive presuppositions I investigated the minimal responses of Moluccan speakers and of Surinam speakers. On the basis of my experience with Surinam speakers I did not believe there to be any gender differences either.In this paper, I focus on the minimal responses that I found in my data. Some of the categories from my data are examined in some detail on the basis of examples. Although the persons participating in this study did not exhibit any gender-related differences, it is hard to conclude one thing or the other, because of the small number of participants. From that point of view this study does not provide any conclusive evidence for the hypothesis that the minimal responses used by Moluccan and Surinam speakers are not gender related, nor does it provide any evidence for the hypothesis that the minimal responses used by Moluccan and Surinam speakers have more functions or meanings than found in the literature. Further research may provide some evidence for the non-existence of gender-related differences in the use of minimal responses by <oluccan and Surinam speakers. It may also provide some evidence for the existence of more meanings and functions of the minimal responses used by these groups.

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/content/journals/10.1075/ttwia.50.02aya
1994-01-01
2019-08-24
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References

http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/ttwia.50.02aya
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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