LINGUIST List 12.2538

Thu Oct 11 2001

Sum: Language of Business Women

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Veronika Koller, language of business women

Message 1: language of business women

Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 14:48:25 +0200
From: Veronika Koller <>
Subject: language of business women

Dear list members,
on 25 September, I posted a query concerning the language of business
women. I received quite a few helpful answers and would again like to thank
the following people for their contributions:

Peter Backhaus
F. Engelman
Tamara Faschingbauer 
S�ren Harder
Jill Kealley
Julie A. Lewis
Meredith Marra
Joyce Neu
James Vanden Bosch 

Peter Backhaus and Julie A. Lewis informed me about the following article
on the language of Japanese business women: 
Smith, Janet S. 1992. Women in charge: Politenss and directives in the
speech of Japanese women. Language in Society, 21:59-82.

F. Engelman pointed out the following general websites on women's

S�ren Harder put me in touch with Mie Fem� Nielsen, who "has worked a lot
on conversation analysis and business meetings etc. I remember her once
talking extensively about male/female differences. Her 
homepage (in danish): , her email: ."
Unfortunately, it turned out that she hasn't published her findings in
English yet. If only I had picked up more Danish during childhood summer
holidays ...

Jill Kealley and James Vanden Bosch both recommended Deborah Tannen's
website ( as a good starting point (which
it obviously is). 

Meredith Marra made me aware of the Language in the Workplace Project at
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, of which she is a part.
Their website is located at and is a
wonderful resource for anyone interested in workplace communication. The
project was also pointed out to me by Tamara Faschingbauer. 

Dr. Joyce Neu drew my attention to two studies she had carried out on
language in negotiations: 
"I did a study of negotiations that looked at male-female differences in
negotiations -- the results did not follow the more known studies of
male-female language in that there were very few differences. One
explanation was that the women were not engaged in small talk or cocktail
banter, but were speaking as professional women and so their language use
didn't differ from men's in as many ways as other research would hvae
predicted. That study was published quite a while ago --

Neu, J., Graham, J. L., & Gilly, M. C. (1988). The influence of gender
on behaviors and outcomes in a retail buyer-seller negotiation
simulation. Journal of Retailing, 64, 4: 427-451.

A related article, a bit more recent, is:
Neu, J. & Graham, J. L. (1995). An analysis of language use in
negotiations: The role of context and content. In K. Ehlich and J.
Wagner, eds., The discourse of business negotiation. Berlin: Mouton de
Gruyter. pgs. 243-272."

All of the above information gave me a fairly good idea about what's been
published on the subject. What's more, it showed that my research focus -
metaphors used for the (self-)description of women managers - might indeed
have something new to add (as is often the case with metaphor, actually). 

Thanks again and best regards,
Veronika Koller

Mag.a Veronika Koller
Department of English/Business English
Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
Augasse 9
A-1090 Vienna
Tel.: 43/1/31336-4068
Fax: 43/1/31336-747
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