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Gender and the Communication of Gratitude in Jordan

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2013.33035    3,498 Downloads   5,614 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This paper examines Jordanians’ perceptions of the ways and the extent to which gender influences the communication of gratitude in some everyday situations. The qualitative analysis of 20 interviews reveals a considerable influence of gender on the performance and reception of this communicative act. Differences between women and men were found in both same-gender and mixed-gender interactions in respect of the mandatoriness and the ways of communicating gratitude. The data show that Jordanian women appear to value expressing gratitude more than Jordanian men do. There is no clear-cut answer to the question of who conveys gratitude more: women or men. However, it is clear that several factors affect the production and the reception of the linguistic expression of gratitude, including: the status differential between the speaker and the hearer, the degree of familiarity between them and the weight of obligation on the speaker. Women tend to communicate gratitude to women more than men do to men, whereas men are particularly aware of the need to be polite when relating to women (especially in unfamiliar and high imposition contexts). The findings strongly support the view that generalisations about the role of gender in conversation should take account of context in the production and interpretation of communicative behaviour and point to some directions for further gender-focused investigation of the linguistic communication of gratitude within and across cultures.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Al-Khawaldeh, N. & Žegarac, V. (2013). Gender and the Communication of Gratitude in Jordan. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 268-287. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.33035.

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