Identifying the Linguistic Genderlects of the Style of Writing of Arab Male and Female Novelists

Sameer Hamdan



The studies of differences in language used by males and females appear mainly to have been focused on the spoken word and rarely on writing. This paper examines some linguistic differences that exist in male and female writing styles of Arabic novels. Some classes of lexical and syntactic features that identify the author’s gender are specified. The paper finds significant differences in the frequent use of some features such as colour, tag questions, verb vs. noun in initiating paragraphs, slang, taboo and euphemistic terms. In particular, males tend to use many more nouns in initial paragraphs compared to females who tend to use fewer of this category. Females are more conservative in using sex-related words whether implicitly or explicitly. Females generally speaking seem to be more atten-tive and more likely to pay specific attention to detail, which in turn influences their style. Finally, a noticeable correlation between the characteristics of male-female writing and the literary genre (novel) is demonstrated.

The source material consists of two modern novels written by a male and a female, who are native speakers of Arabic and considered as canonical figures by some Arab and Jordanian critics.

 Key words:

gender, novel, style, male, female, writing, differences, linguistics


DOI: 10.15503/jecs20112-55-63


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