Linguistic differences between male and female developmental writers

Patricia Ann Jenkins, Tennessee State University


The study investigated gender differences between simple and complex sentences for two types of writings. Subjects were first-year males and females enrolled in developmental writing courses. Sentences from classification essays and cause/effect essays were categorized as kernel sentences, single-based transform sentences, and double-based transform sentences to identify and compare gender preference. Chi-Square results indicated the frequency of sentence patterns was not dependent upon gender and the writing task type. For the classification essay, Chi-Square (1, N = 58) = 2.673, at alpha 05. For the cause/effect essay, Chi-Square (1, N = 58) = 0.238, at alpha 05. The study also examined types and frequency of errors committed with complex sentences. Dominant errors were fused sentences and verb-tense consistency. These occurred more often with subordinate sentences than with coordinate sentences. However, females produced more subordinated errors and fused sentence errors overall. In contrast, males created more verb form errors with subordinated structures. Results of the study substantiate others' findings that gender differences are dissipating (Caplan,, 1997). However, the remedial population is experiencing growth with older, non-traditional students (HESS, 1996). Thus, more studies are needed to analyze sociocultural effects and adult patterns of development.

Subject Area

Language arts|Linguistics|Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Patricia Ann Jenkins, "Linguistic differences between male and female developmental writers" (2000). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3007585.