Gender Differences in the Length of Words and Sentences on the Corpus of Congressional Speeches

Dragana Božić Lenard


Gender differences in various subfields and registers have been of an interest to sociolinguists since the 1960s. This paper aimed to examine gender differences in the categories of word count, words per sentence and long words in political speeches. The study was conducted on the corpus of the congressional speeches from the most current 113th United States Congress. The corpus consisted of 672 speeches given by the female and 2,983 by the male politicians. The speeches transcripts were downloaded from the official speech repository Thomas. The analysis was two-fold. First, the transcripts were analyzed with the text analysis software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count which counted overall words and words per sentence and calculated the degree to which the politicians used long words. The computational analysis was followed by a statistical analysis done with the software SPSS which was used to carry out the Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis, independent sample t-test and one-way ANOVA. The results showed that the male politicians occupied the floor longer but the female politicians used longer words in their speeches, while there were no statistically significant differences in the length of sentences.


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