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From my experience and observation in teaching English in a great number of mixed-gender classes, there is a big gap in the way men and women use a certain language. For example, when both male and female students are asked to discuss one particular topic, men interrupt women more often than women do. The differences lead me to the wonder whether or not there is a correlation between language and gender. In fact, differences in the way men and women use a certain language have been of interest in the study of sociolinguistics. Therefore, there has been an upsurge in discussions, seminars, journals and researches in gender-related differences. A lot of issues such as word choice, syntax and so on have been taken into account so as to portray how dissimilar men and women use a language. Not understanding gender differences when interacting in either formal or informal situations will result in communication breakdowns. In order to communicate effectively, communicators need to make use of some appropriate politeness strategies as speakers always hope to obtain the respect from the counterparts. Hence, based on a great number of theoretical bases and empirical studies, my paper examines gender differences in conversations in in terms of politeness. My review comprises four sections. The first part looks at the definition and the function of politeness. There is an analysis and synthesis of differences in the way men and women use politeness strategies in the second section. From some explanations for these differences in section three, I suggest some implications for teachers to help learners to avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation in conversations by using politeness techniques in the teaching process.


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