Saturday, February 1, 2014


Are women better at languages?

Is there a difference between male and female students?
When I was in college I minored in Spanish. Most of my classes were predominately female. As I continued to seek a career in language teaching most of my colleagues are female. This guest post by Gabriele Monti suggests why most people think that women do better at learning languages. 
Recent studies have shown not once that women have stronger lingual skills than men, being quick and adept students. Although there is no overwhelming scientific evidence, the notion that girls pick up a language faster and easier than boys is rooted in the minds of many parents and teachers. But how much truth is in that statement? Here are three common theories which explain, based on research and statistics, why females show distinctively better results as it comes to education, specifically language acquisition.

The Biological Reason: Brain Activity

Men and women digest information individually; when it comes to learning a new language, men use visual and spoken aids while women grasp language attributes (vocabulary, for example) in a more abstract way. Researches have shown that the “semantic zones” of the brain are more activated in girls allowing them to learn a phrase from either hearing it or seeing it, whereas a boy would require both actions. This can be explained by the brain performance mechanism of the two genders: boys show more reaction in the brains parts related to graphic and acoustic functions whereas females’ brain is stimulated more in areas responsible for language encoding.

Versatile Studying Approaches: Using All Possible Ways to Learn

Once accessing a foreign tongue, women tend to take advantage of diverse techniques for learning, practising and memorizing the material. Besides the old traditional ways, there is a spectrum of technological breakthroughs today allowing anyone to choose their optimal learning strategy: mobile apps, websites and interactive learning – to name a few. Women, unlike men, keep pace with these innovations in a language class.
By diversifying the studying course female students also enjoy a universal approach, incorporating more language skills and elements. Various components such as speech, pronunciation, reading and vocabulary play equal roles in the semantic education. For example, in addition to reading and drilling words, a girl is more likely to listen to songs or practice online conversations. Men, however, tend to stick to a few methods only, thus hindering the process flow.

Motivation and Networking: Women Are Being More Social

Compared to men, women are, typically, more open to social connections and networking. When it comes to language acquisition, practising the vocabulary and picking up common phrases is done best by chatting with a native speaker. The readiness to get involved in conversation with locals in the target language is one of the keys to success.
Taking advantage of the internet, females use creative approach combining their hobbies with language learning: blogging, unloading picture and videos, commenting and sharing their thoughts in the studied language are a few examples of effective interactive education. Besides improving language skills, the social engagement adds to the student’s general confidence and self-esteem.
Another interesting fact that might partly explain why girls are more language-oriented is their participation in language classes during school and college. Research has shown that these non-mandatory classes typically attract more female students.
Biological and the social factors both play their role in the tongue learning process. Each case is individual and exceptions do exist; however, with their intuitive approach and “language gene” women indeed show higher lingual capacity

 Gabriele Monti

Gabriele is dedicated language teacher who also writes for the blog of The language Class

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