Coded green.

Friday 19 September 2003

Screenshot The Sims

Pic of the day: Fictional writing. (Screenshot from The Sims.)

Manly writing

I found an interesting link on a friend's LiveJournal. It took me eventually to a research paper on gender differences in writing, both in fiction and nonfiction. The document, which is in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format, can be found at In summary, it says that there are some gender differences that can be found across different genres of fiction and different types of nonfiction. Basically, women write more involving, men more descriptive. Women use words such as personal pronouns that refer to things already known, while men use words such as numbers that give information about things. It is not quite that simple, but basically the underlying attitude differs. Women say: "I know you already know about this thing" and men say "Let me tell you something about this thing".

I found it rather interesting, for some reason. Now I cannot say why. I guess it was new to me, so it was some kind of small revelation. I knew that men and women think differently: Even our brains are somewhat different, and culture expects us to think and feel in different ways. Personally I consider this a good thing. It is kinda like seeing with two eyes instead of just one. You get a slightly different perspective, but you are really looking at the same thing. We are both human, so we also have a lot in common. Indeed, we have by far most things in common. That's why they have to run books through computer analysis to figure out these things. They are not obvious, except when a book is written specifically for women or men.

There is a small program now going around that analyzes our most recent LiveJournal entries and tries to guess the writer's gender. Strangely enough, all of my friends end up around 50%, and if it's slightly more than 50% it is usually to the wrong side ... I guess you could expect that much with me being friend with sinners. For that matter I'm a sinner myself, but evidently not guilty of the sin of writing like a woman. I write 62% male, which is pretty tough for a LJ evidently. Come to think of it, writing a diary is not considered very masculine at all, I believe. More's the pity. Imagine having Jesus' diary to read... (No comparison intended.)

I meant to write a lot about the gender specific writing, but it does not really interest me anymore. Now, that was quick. But it was kinda nice to know. And I expect there's a feminist or two reading this, they will probably have an opinion. They usually have. ^_^*


Few things bring perspective into my life as quickly as sudden illness, and this happened again this night. I woke up around five in the morning with pain in my lower right side again, stronger than most days these last two months. Perhaps not quite as bad as the first day, but not too far from. Also I was queasy and shivering from imaginary cold. Made me wonder whether there is after all some serious problem. It hasn't really been bad enough to take to a doctor. After all, if you whine about small things, nobody will listen if something really bad happens. But if this becomes a habit, I will definitely have to do something.

I guess there are gender differences in this too. From what I hear, women are more likely to go to a doctor if they feel ill, while men suffer in silence and make sure everyone knows they do. At least here in Norway there is a saying: "Nothing is as sick as a sick man". Well, actually the last word in Norwegian can mean both man and husband, and I suspect husband is the intended meaning here. There is precious little to gain from being sick alone.

Yes, in Norwegian the most common word for husband is "mann", which is the exact equivalent of the English "man". In case of doubt, however, there is a more formal word for husband: "Ektemann", which translates as "genuine man" or, more loosely, "real man". Despite this, marriage is less common here than in English-speaking countries. Another nail in the coffin for the theory that language shapes society. I used to believe in that until recently, but now I think it exerts only a minor influence. But there is no doubt that society influences language. Even down to the use of personal pronouns.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Sweet and simple?
Two years ago: When Harry didn't meet Sally
Three years ago: Drooling fadboy!
Four years ago: Working on Sunday

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