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Gender and Politeness Rules in Japan and the United States
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender and Politeness Rules 7 Gender Differences in Politeness Rules Traditional gender roles suggest that women are supposed to behave more politely than men (e.g., Becker & Smenner, 1986; Brown, 1980; Cashion, Cody, & Erickson, 1986; Gleason, Perlmann, & Greif, 1984; Smith, 1990). For example, Brown (1980) suggests that women generally demonstrate more politeness strategies than men do. However, some writers report that men are more polite than women (e.g., Franzblau, 1980; Smith-Hefner, 1988). For instance, men use the polite markers more appropriately than women in public (Smith-Hefner, 1988). There also are studies indicating no gender differences in politeness (Becker, 1986; Brouwer, 1982; Shimanoff, 1977). For example, men and women use an equal number of polite forms such as “please,” “thank you, “greetings,” and “modals” (Brouwer, 1982). Therefore, the results of studies on gender and politeness are quite mixed. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether there are gender differences in the perception of regulatory force of politeness rules in Japan and the United States. Previous studies of gender have focused on the nature of rules for politeness, and have not addressed the regulatory force of politeness rules. Therefore, the present study focuses on the regulatory force of politeness rules. Methods Respondents Respondents for the main study included 482 college students: 273 (98 males, 174 females, and one who did not indicate his/her sex) from a moderate sized university in the western United States, and 209 (101 males, 106 females, and two who did not indicate their sex) from a moderate sized university in Japan. The U.S. American sample consisted of 115 European Americans, 63 Latino Americans, 47 Asian Americans, six African Americans, three Native Americans, 35 others (e.g., Middle Eastern, mix between European American

Authors: Ogawa, Naoto.
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Gender and Politeness Rules 7
Gender Differences in Politeness Rules
Traditional gender roles suggest that women are supposed to behave more politely
than men (e.g., Becker & Smenner, 1986; Brown, 1980; Cashion, Cody, & Erickson, 1986;
Gleason, Perlmann, & Greif, 1984; Smith, 1990). For example, Brown (1980) suggests that
women generally demonstrate more politeness strategies than men do. However, some
writers report that men are more polite than women (e.g., Franzblau, 1980; Smith-Hefner,
1988). For instance, men use the polite markers more appropriately than women in public
(Smith-Hefner, 1988).
There also are studies indicating no gender differences in politeness (Becker, 1986;
Brouwer, 1982; Shimanoff, 1977). For example, men and women use an equal number of
polite forms such as “please,” “thank you, “greetings,” and “modals” (Brouwer, 1982).
Therefore, the results of studies on gender and politeness are quite mixed.
The purpose of the present study was to examine whether there are gender differences
in the perception of regulatory force of politeness rules in Japan and the United States.
Previous studies of gender have focused on the nature of rules for politeness, and have not
addressed the regulatory force of politeness rules. Therefore, the present study focuses on the
regulatory force of politeness rules.
Methods
Respondents
Respondents for the main study included 482 college students: 273 (98 males, 174
females, and one who did not indicate his/her sex) from a moderate sized university in the
western United States, and 209 (101 males, 106 females, and two who did not indicate their
sex) from a moderate sized university in Japan.
The U.S. American sample consisted of 115
European Americans, 63 Latino Americans, 47 Asian Americans, six African Americans,
three Native Americans, 35 others (e.g., Middle Eastern, mix between European American


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