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Filipino Men and Women During Conversation

Prof Frederick V. Rael has been teaching for almost 20 years in various local colleges and universities in the Philippines.

Dion Ignacio and Wife


In Asian countries like the Philippines, there is a common perception that women talk too much as compared to men. One may observe the said assumption in various social gatherings like in a meeting, family bonding, and in other public places. In said situations, women talk a lot and actually dominate the whole conversation. Women are perceived as very talkative since Filipino wives tend to scold over their children’s mistakes or their husband’s drinking problem. When a Filipino couple argues over a certain topic, one may observe that the wife always has the upper hand while the husband just allows his wife to nag. Moreover, gossips in the Philippines are most of the time being spread by women. Filipinos call these gossipers “tsismosa” or those who spread rumors faster than the internet.

Of course, as a social science major myself, I tried to be enlightened on the said topic since it is an interesting one. Fortunately, Deborah Tannen’s (2013) study has been very useful in achieving my objective, which is to identify the conversational behaviors of men and women in the Philippines. I like the terms coined by Tannen (2013) about the conversational behaviors of men and women, which are “rapport talk” and report-talk.”

I was fascinated by the said concepts since they seem to depict more or less accurate characteristics of men and women during conversation in our country. As I understood it, men have the strong desire for power and to enlighten others in conversation. They tend to report and convince rather than to be accepted by the other person in a conversation. In this way, they seldom talk but when they do they ensure that would be able to persuade the others in a conversation.

On the other hand, women like to nurture or care even in a conversation that leads to rapport with the other participants in a given conversation. The nurturing desire of women can be observed on the way they talk a lot because they really care for the other person. Actually, women try to persuade the other person through an emotional appeal and by expounding the topic until the other person is tired enough to listen (I’m speaking based on my observation in the Philippine context). By talking too much, they feel that they would reach a certain level of intimacy or close relationships with the other person. In short, women don’t care that much if she is convincing or not because she just wants to achieve emotional connection with her conversant.

Perhaps, the said assumptions of Tannen (2013) are generally applicable in the Philippine set up. Her analysis contributed on my knowledge as to why a typical Filipino wife frequently nags her husband and why women gossips a lot in our country. In defense, Filipino women are naturally caring and that characteristic is reflected on the way they converse and talk a lot. They also engage in gossips to establish relationships since the more gossip one shares in the our country, the higher the chances of broadening of one’s social network. On the other hand, the machismo culture in the Philippines dictates that men should not talk too much but when they do they want their information to be as accurate as possible. So, if you want to visit our country, don’t be surprised on how fast we transmit information without using the internet because of our gossip culture, which is propelled by the conversational skills of Filipino women.


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Deborah Tannen (2013) You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Frederick V Rael


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 18, 2020:

Very interesting reading.

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