Writing As A Genre

Table 4.5.1 shows some data found for men and women writing in different genres, ranging from academic text to what is often called 'women's fiction'. If you read down the table, for both of the measures 'sentence length' and 'reading ease', you will see that the texts typically get easier the further you go down the columns. If you read across the columns, you will find that there is only one significant difference out of eighteen between the average scores achieved by men and women. Basically, the data in Table 4.5.1 show

Table 4.5.1 Mean scores (and standard deviations) for men and women authors on measures of readability for different text genres

Genre Sentence lengths % of passive Flesch RE score*

(in words) sentences

Table 4.5.1 Mean scores (and standard deviations) for men and women authors on measures of readability for different text genres

Genre Sentence lengths % of passive Flesch RE score*

(in words) sentences

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

1

Academic book reviews

Mean

28.0

26.2

8.9

8.3

2I.4

24.5

(s.d.)

8.0

5.I

8.5

II.3

9.8

I0.6

N=30 for each sex

2

Academic articles

Mean

25.8

25.5

20.9

I9.0

20.2

24.8

(s.d.)

4.2

4.7

I0.6

II.6

8.9

9.2

N=I9 for each sex

3

Student essays Mean

26.2

25.3

3I.0

26.9

3I.8

27.3

(s.d)

3.3

3.8

I5.4

I4.5

8.0

I0.5

N=I5 for each sex

4

Tabloid newspaper Mean

articles 2I.0

2I.7

I4.8

22 7**

52.5

54.5

(s.d.)

2.4

4.8

7.5

7.8

6.3

7.9

N=I0 for each sex

5

Novels

Mean

I7.5

I6.9

6.I

4.3

68.8

74.9

(s.d.)

7.8

6.I

7.3

4.0

II.2

8.6

N=I0 for each sex

6

Magazine fiction Mean

I2.7

I2.0

3.I

2.6

79.9

78.7

(s.d.)

3.4

2.7

3.I

2.0

5.7

5.8

N=I0 for each sex

* Flesch RE scores range from 0 to 100, with easier texts having higher scores (as shown here). Texts with scores below 30 are labelled 'very difficult'

** This difference between the use of passives is statistically significant (t = 2.18, d.f. 18, p<.05). It is the only significant difference in this table and thus it could have occurred by chance

* Flesch RE scores range from 0 to 100, with easier texts having higher scores (as shown here). Texts with scores below 30 are labelled 'very difficult'

** This difference between the use of passives is statistically significant (t = 2.18, d.f. 18, p<.05). It is the only significant difference in this table and thus it could have occurred by chance

Updated from Hartley (2005).

that men and women write equally well in any genre, but that these genres can differ markedly from each other.

One interesting possibility to consider here is that the more complex text in Table 4.5.1 is typically labelled 'masculine' (as academic and legal text was originally written by men), and that the less complex text is typically labelled 'feminine' (as this type of fiction is written more frequently by women). Whatever the case, when we turn to academic writing, it is clear - from these measures - that academic writing:

1 has a complex style

2 is difficult to read

3 can be performed equally well by men and women.

0 0

Post a comment