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How Does Gender Affect Language Learning?

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Can gender be a challenge when learning a new language? When learning a new language, there can be many aspects like environment, motivation, interest, etc. Gender can be defined in a biological or identity aspect. In our case, we will many refer to two genders, female and/or male. Although, gender may not seem to be a challenge when learning a new language, it may actually become a difficulty when learning.

There have been multiple cases examining to see if gender can play as a factor in language acquisition. Gender did not show any effect when it came to native and non native speaker interactions, but female native speakers were willing to negotiate more in conversation than male speakers. Women interact for input while men interact to produce more output. Women talk to receive input on their topic and how they can become better situated with the topic. While when men converse, talk in order to show their superiority or try to challenge one another. This shows that women have the upper hand when it comes to conversation speaking with one other individual.

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Women have typically shown to be very positive and have a stronger emotional and cognitive connection when it came to learning and using a language in a conversation. In a case study, women have shown to use more strategies when it comes to language learning. Males, on the other hand, preferred to use more analytical strategies when learning their second language (SL). Females would use fourteen strategies while males used only one when it came to conversational speaking. Males are more relaxed when it comes to conversation where unlike women who tend to be more nervous when conversing with others. But women did show to have used these strategies more naturally in conversations, unlike males.

It was proven that females had practiced more than males did when it came to the SL because females had a better learning strategy for learning vocabulary. It was also shown that females used more memory strategy when attempting to learn as well as having more self regulated learning strategies in learning than males. This is due to their ability to having a better conscious control than males. This enacts to gender behavior, where females are more capable of paying more attention to their SL learning. Males are less likely to feel fear and anxiety in public speaking whereas females can easily become anxious when speaking. Males tend to detach themselves from unpleasant emotions in order to obtain more self control. So although females do use more strategies to speak, males still manage to feel more relaxed in conversations.

Although women do have an advantage when it comes to learning a second language, it is not much of a difference for males. Males can be more comfortable when it comes to speaking to others whereas females become more nervous. Males also have a more naturalistic advantage than females in an emotional connection to language.With this said, gender does play a role when it comes to learning a second language.


  1. Tseng, Wen-Ta, et al. “Self-Regulation in Language Learning: Scale Validation and Gender Effects.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, vol. 124, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 531–548, doi:10.1177/0031512516684293.
  2. Yang, Mihwa. ‘Language Learning Strategies of English as a Foreign Language University Students in Korea.’ Order No. 3404469 Indiana State University, 2010. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2019.
  3. Rafek, Mahfuzah Binti, et al. “Gender and Language: Communication Apprehension in Second Language Learning.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 123, no. C, 2014, pp. 90–96.
  4. Pavlenko, Aneta., et al. Multilingualism, Second Language Learning, and Gender. De Gruyter, 2001.

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How Does Gender Affect Language Learning? (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“How Does Gender Affect Language Learning?” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022,
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