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Linguaholic

Do women learn languages faster than men?


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men score higher in maths tests and women score higher in language tests.

On average, most women are great talkers. If they move into a new place and they can't speak the local language then most likely they'll make an effort to learn the language so they can talk to their neighbors and new friends. That, I've witnessed first-hand.

So is it really true that women learn languages faster than men? Would that explain why most writers are female? 

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I suppose you could argue that women are more likely to be social in any situation, but that's certainly not always the case. Men could just as well take to it just as fast or faster. It all depends on the importance of learning the language.

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I think I cannot compare men and women with regards to their ability of learning a language. A certain person has each own intellectual capacity. It also depends on ones willingness and interest which is the key to learn a language faster and easily. If both of these are not present in their mind and heart then neither of them will make it the way they want to learn it fast.

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I am sure the answer to this question depends on the individual.

Although I believe females are more verbal.  They definitely take command of their native language more easily than males.  I don't know how this translates into learning another language. 

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Although it might like women would learn a language faster than men do, I do not believe that gender is a factor in determining our ability to learn a language. Women do have an advantage because they usually talk more than men do, but since most men are silent, they probably analyze and study a subject more than usual. So, I guess men and women learn languages at the same pace, but in different ways.

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I think that is a tough thing to really verify. When it comes to learning a new language, all that matters is how patient and dedicated the person is to becoming better at the language and allowing time to study. Also, is it a fact that there are more female writers than male?

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Agreed with what most people are saying. Gender has no bearing on how quick an individual can learn a language. I know a lot of guys who learn languages faster than women and vice versa. I don't think we can generalize language learning on the basis of gender.

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I think I cannot compare men and women with regards to their ability of learning a language. A certain person has each own intellectual capacity. It also depends on ones willingness and interest which is the key to learn a language faster and easily. If both of these are not present in their mind and heart then neither of them will make it the way they want to learn it fast.

Eeeeexactly. Saying that "women talk more" is a generalisation and hurtful to your point. I barely speak in real life. I don't like talking to people; it makes me anxious especially because my mouth moves far slower than my brain thinks.

Learning a language well only requires the capacity to remember words, parse the parts and connect words with families, stems, cognates, etc..... and most importantly, the willingness and motivation to learn. "Where there's a will, there's a way," am I right?

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There's no way to tell really. The only thing I can think of to back up the assumption is the way women are socialized to believe they are below men thus making them want to work harder and learn faster. At the end of the day I think it comes down to the individual and what their personal goals are.

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I believe this completely depends on the individual, not on gender. I would never say that either men or women can learn a language fast than the other gender purely because it depends on the individual's enthusiasm and drive to learn the language.

I think if anyone were in a foreign country and forced to only speak that language, they would learn it pretty quickly.

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I believe gender has nothing to do how people learn a language fast. The same thing with being a writer. Both sexes have the capabilities and talents they can use to their advantage. For me, learning a language depends on the person himself. If he really wants to be fluent and adept in a certain language, he should make an effort to do well. :)

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Absolutely not. The only physiological factors that can affect the speed at which a language is learned are age, or mental deficiencies. Gender has nothing to do with it. What you have witnessed is positive reinforcement of structures and words through practice and real life performance. It's much better to learn a language by immersing yourself in it and using it, than it is to just read and drill structures. Trying to commit words to memory through brute force alone is the worst way to learn a language as too many structural errors will occur this way. No, practice and performance is key to learning any language, not gender.

Although I wholeheartedly accept your premise that females are the chattier of the species so in that at least they have the upper hand! :D

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In my heart, I do believe it all comes down to the individual. I don't think men and women are as equal as recent years have tried to convince us, but the differences when it comes to the brain aren't that radical. However, the only time I could actually test the learning ability of a man and a woman was when I had to tutor an American couple in Portuguese. Both didn't know the language when I met them, by the end of the year, the man still couldn't keep up a conversation while his wife could without problem. They did everything together, so it's not like one of them had more time to learn and practice than the other. So there is that, but I certainly wouldn't make a generalization out of it.

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I don't think it's very fair to generalize, but if I had to pick an answer, I'd say it's possible. We can't deny the men and women are still very different in some areas of development, so women's strengths just might just make it a little easier for them. It's highly possible that we just don't have the scientific measures and abilities right now to track these things fully as of now, though, and maybe in the future we might have a clearer answer.

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From my experience, no. In my class there isn't a single straight A woman student, while there are 2-3 male students that average between an A and a B, and one straight A student.

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I think that far and above gender differences, the most important determining factor is the motivation that individuals have.  Innate ability is great, but it's only a starting point.  People, regardless of gender, will excel according to the degree that they're motivated. 

Also important are the circumstances under which they are learning languages.  People have different styles of learning, and may progress at different rates. 

As for whether one gender is more talkative than the other, I'm also not so sure that is crucial in language learning.  Learning a language also means being able to comprehend as well as to write.  People may be introspective or perhaps even shy, verbally, and yet they may excel in comprehension and writing skills. 

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I don't think there is any difference to learn a language based on sex, but is mostly associated to men and women' intellectual capacity be good at learning languages or not.

Besides intellect, motivation is another factor that determines how fast or easy either a man or a woman can learn a language.

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Uhm that study could be biased... I'd love to see where you got that statement from, but in my experience... I['d say both sexes have a good chance at learning a good language, no matter what sex they are, and yes, I'm a female.  I learnt english on my own when I was younger, almost by accident!  I'm learning Dutch right now and I'm starting to see some progress :)

It all depends on how motivated you really feel!  If you feel motivated enough to learn a language, you will surely achieve it!!! Doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, all you need is the motivation to go for it and do it, just like I am trying to :)

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  • 1 month later...

It is difficult to say whether women learn language faster than men. I believe it has to do very much with the individuals willingness to learn as with anything else. In my opinion women usually grasp at things more quickly but I don't think learning a language has much if anything to do with gender.

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:doubtful: I don't know if there is a natural gender relation to the ability to learn languages, but if there is I would expect that there would be more men showing a strong ability with perhaps more women showing moderately high ability. Most sex-linked genetic characteristics are that way since they have to occur in the portion of the X chromosome that is not matched by the Y chromosome.

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I think it depends, women are more social, that's given but my favorite authors are mostly men. It might depend on the kind of literature I like as I'm not into romantic novels and prefer fantasy or history related books. In Portugal the most notorious writers are two male poets: Fernando Pessoa and Camões. I don't know any female writer in my language as famous as those two... but it's not a field I know much about.

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Never heard about this before. Maybe women like to talk more but as to learn a language faster never crossed my mind. I think it all depends on the individual's intelligence, but there are more cases of men learning things faster so I don't think so.

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