National differences in conversations


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Abstract

In order to make a comparison of national differences in interest as indicated by conversations, the writer collected fragments of conversations overheard in London on Oxford and Regent Streets and their immediate vicinity, during the late afternoon and early evening. Notation was made of the sex of the speaker and of the person spoken to, and of the general topic of conversation when the conversation was easily classified, or the actual words when the topic was unusual. In all, two hundred such fragments were collected. The frequency of conversation topics is summarized and compared to previous conversation studies made in the US. The comparisons indicate that the same interests are exhibited by the Englishman as by the American when in a man to man conversation but that the Englishman when talking to a feminine companion adapts his conversation to her interests while American women adapt their conversation to the interests of their masculine companions. Englishwomen talk more frequently of other women and of themselves, while American women talk of men and of clothes. There is a greater variety in the conversations on the London streets than in those heard on the American streets. Sex differences in topics of conversation (interests) are as marked in London as in America. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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