Kankakee, Illinois, USA
March 18
That One
Columnist for Kankakee Daily Journal, Host of The Ron Jackson Coffee & Conversation Show Saturdays on WKAN 1320AM, or wkan.com, justrondering.blogspot.com. Public speaker(Youth, women in unhealthy relationships) Author of " How to Handle Your Man"

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Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 17, 2009 9:59PM

Report is wrong. Women do talk too much.

Rate: 23 Flag

It has been a while since a new report was released that declared men and women speak about the same number of words on a daily basis. Contrasting the former, widely accepted myth that men used about 7,000 words and women used about 21,000 words per day, the new finding claimed both sexes use about 16,000 words daily.

What men, outside of those in the oratory field, have 16,000 words’ worth of chat per day? Talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Phil, Paul Harvey and Montel Williams or politicians who blow a lot of hot air, I can see talking that much. But the average guy?

Even on special occasions when a guy is supposed to be more vocal, it would take a lot of words and grunts to reach 16,000.

Take the Super Bowl. That is an event where every male tuned in to the game has something to say – not necessarily intelligent – but something. Yes, even counting his interests in the commercials, his multiple comments may all be three one-syllable word statements. It would take 5,333 instances of “Get me one,” “Ohh looka dat,” “Go for it,” “Man, she’s hot,” “Another beer hon,” “Pass the chips,” “Turn it up,” or “We did it,” to equal 16,000 words.

Who would the average guy be talking to to use that many words? It can’t be another guy. And how many guys can hold a 16,000-word conversation with a woman if he could get in a couple thousand words edgewise?

If a guy associates with even eight different guys on a daily basis, the ritual, “Hey, what’s up?” “Hey, what’s up?” followed by the obligatory, “Nuttin,” “Nuttin,” would only equal 64 words. Without saying another word, all men know that “Nuttin” means: “It’s another day but same routine. I’m trying to make a living, keep the female in my life content, pay my taxes, and hoping I see another wonderful day like today.” So, why and when would the average fella use the other 15,936 words?

Unlike men, women’s daily greetings are way beyond three words. The normal, “Hi, how are you?” is followed by a long detailed deposition: “I am fine. And you look nice today. I love your new haircut and those shoes. I saw them on sale last week, but they were out of my size, and I wanted the strapless ones, anyway. Did you happen to see those? By the way, I got that new leather purse we talked about yesterday. It was on sale too, tee-hee-hee. Oh, and how are you this morning?” Only to have the initial greeter answer every question that she was asked plus share her 70-word experience.

'Yes, dear'
In the interest of maintaining daily domestic peace, the typical male-to-female conversation consisting of repeated “Yes dear,” “I’m sorry,” “You’re right,” “I’m wrong,” “OK,” “Ditto,” and “I promise” can add up to thousands of words.

Granted, the word usage study must have included cell phone conversations. With cell phone usage on the rise, there are some men who talk too darn much on them. Especially when you are standing behind them in McDonald’s while they hold a conversation about their latest PlayStation or are reading to someone the entire menu. Then there are the guys who will hold a cell phone conversation and simultaneously hold another conversation with a person standing next to them. However, those aren’t average guys.

The study did not say if the words men type in e-mails and personal blogs were included in the daily count. Have you ever read any male-produced blogs? Some men can turn a simple, “I went to the store for some bread and juice story” into a script longer than the “Titanic” movie. Some of the stuff men share in blogs is baffling. If you can’t convey it in three words or less or with the proverbial nod of the head or roll of the eyes, it need not be said.

I can’t wait for the next study that claims that while men still may carry fewer photos in their wallets than women, men definitely have more photos on their cell phones. But those aren’t average men, either.

And the photos aren't of their children.

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Funny stuff. Do the powers that be include texting in the word count?
Do the powers that be include texting in the word count?
Darn good question. However, I think texting is done equally between the genders. Especialy Gen Xers. I don't think they know how to talk at all.
Oh, no, not GenX, but I'm talking about my kids, especially my daughter whose hands now sadly have evolved to sport only a thumb on each hand.
Haha! I don't know if I talk 16,000 words a day, but I type it.

Classic. From someone who has been married 21 years, I can tell you I out talk my wife 2-1. She's usually laughing too much to talk.

Take Care Ron
i'm guessing i get in maybe 2 or 3 thousand words a day average. 16000 is way too high. now back when i was younger and used to self-medicate 30 or 40 thousand was probably about right, but those were unnatural conditions.
I've known quite a few male talkers in my time. There was a study -- isn't there always? -- a few years back that showed that women, in order to get equal air time, often had to interrupt men to be heard. I've personally witnessed, and done, quite a bit of that myself.

Then again, I have been known to talk up quite a storm with men and women if I like them and they have something interesting to say.
I have to interrupt men to get a word in....often...or rather, that is what is required, tho I am loathe to interrupt.

I tend to think its more about perception. I have been on dates where ..hmm...25 words came out of my mouth..and I am plenty chatty.
Thwerrpt! Blilclopt! Excus me I Gen X not no how to talk!
Funny post (I'm a guy too, so that's all I got)!
I agree with JK Brady as I'm told I can shift gears without a clutch. But, my neighbor down the street has to be the windiest man ever and I'm sure he's up to 30, 000 words a day. His poor wife is speechless!
It makes him insane. So I do it often. :)
JK. You're just mean.

Typical gender versions of same story .
Men: My buddy & I went to the store to buy shoes and then get a few beers.

Women: Well, first I had cramps, then Susie called and she was dealing with her daughter's stalker Bf. YOu kow the one that hacked the hospital computers. Then we decided maybe we should get dresses before shoes, then the car was hit by a shopping cart. Oh, and Susie brought up the issue of a new library in the neighboring county that would make ours look like a kiddie reading room at the dentist's office. Speaking of dentist, we need to make an appointment. lalalalalalalalalalala
Persephone...I have been on dates where ..hmm...25 words came out of my mouth..and I am plenty chatty.

You're the perfect"trophy" date.
Oh you are making some mighty broad assumptions, my friend. You'll have to take a look at my phone. There are no children there, unless you count the young men I take semi-erotic shots of (professionally.)

And last time I checked, I could give a rat's ass about strapless shoes on sale.
Beth Mann...And last time I checked, I could give a rat's ass about strapless shoes on sale.

Beth. You area unique specimen within the species. Like those rare discoveries we hear about oh, every 5000 years.
Are you trying to be cute? Somehow you are just not pulling it off.
This blog? Too long.

The only men I know who talk too much are the insecure ones, the manic ones, and the ones who bloviate on TV. And Joe Biden. Other than that, my girlfriends are the talkers, for sure.

Like the "tee-hee." I've seen it for years but has anyone ever really said that? :>)
Very touchy subject. I fear backlash. I stand mute.
So I guess the fact that fathers, or rather, good fathers, interact with their children all day long is not of any significant worth to your observations? Hundreds of words were shared between father and son this morning before I even came into the room.

Well played. Very funny.
Great post and very funny. I liked the superbowl part I know that is true. Lots of men must think like jkbradley's husband, I have been told I can bounce back and forth effortlessly in a conversation and not lose track of all I want to say. I have had to be rude and interrupt men before in order to get a word in edgewise.
Thank you for the hilarious post.
I can't speak to the "truth" or accuracy of this, but as to how funny it is (you are) there can be no doubt!! Some men won't even take the full milli-second it takes to say: "What's up?" but must abbreviate it to "S'up?" because they think "What's up?" is just too chatty, intimate and verbose, possibly leading to a conversation where shoes or clothing are involved.
JKBrady Wrote: "What freaks my husband out is that women can actually maintain 3 or 4 simultaneous streams of conversation at once. We bounce effortlessly back and forth between subjects and manage to keep all the balls up in the air. We know exactly what we are talking about, but to the untrained male ear, it is just too much to take in. It makes him insane. So I do it often. :) "

That is what I call the Ricochet Rabbit logic of the female mind. It does take a while to follow.

I net this dichotomy out as "the what and the why." Men normally just dicuss the "what", while women seem more entranced with delving into the "why." A sweeping generalization, I realize, but still ...
Funny post, but I would be curious regarding the ages of people surveyed as well as lifestyles. Perhaps I'm the exception to the rule, but I'm a talker. I'm pretty sure 16,000 words is probably pretty easy for me. I've known plenty of guys like that - my old drummer was someone I loathed calling because it was pretty pointless - the most I could get out of him was "yeah, I'll be there." However, plenty of other men I've known can out talk most people. Most of them though, are right in my age bracket.
I wonder if you can count grunts as words. Then the men might be ahead in the word count!
Lisa Kern...I wonder if you can count grunts as words. Then the men might be ahead in the word count!
Grunts are not words; they are complete sentences.
I am either manic (per Lea), or very in touch with my feminine side( per rijaxn) . I tend as much or more than most men or women I've met. One of my flaws...
T-Bucket.. Intelligent or relevant words can be unlimited and beneficial. It's the 98% unnecessary verbosity that most men can't handle.
Isn't "unnecessary verbosity" rather subjective? Do you think women speak for the sake of speaking? I would guess that every word a woman says is a word SHE certainly thinks needed to be said.

I don't mean to sound hostile here, but every single response you have made in the comments here has pissed me off....damn.
90% of what I say or write is unnecessary verbosity . Then I edit ! :)
I'm with you, Persephone. Totally.

(Oops. That last word was probably too much. There I go again.)
Persophone..I don't mean to sound hostile here, but every single response you have made in the comments here has pissed me off....damn.

Wasnt my intent to piss you off, but look how few it took to do it.

I see.

It's about MY oversensitivity. Ok.

Got it.


I see.

It's about MY oversensitivity. Ok.

Got it.


What a beautiful 12 word conversation. See, I could talk to you all day.
Wow, sexist, rude AND arrogant.

Methinks in real life you are none of these things. Here tho...you are doing a damn fine impersonation. Too bad.

Ok, I'm done. You can now make your snarky, arrogant response, have the last word, and feel terrific.

Hey there - stirring the pot again I see – you just love this!!

So let me ask you this… according to your own criteria, you are not the typical male. There is NO WAY that you are a man of few words in real life. So would you be introspective for a moment and tell me your view on whether that is a good or a bad thing?
Men have EVOLVED to speak only when neccessary. If you are a dude on the hunt, what is the first thing that you say to the guy who can't keep his trap shut? "Shut the Fuck UP!" whereas a woman at home by the cooking fire or labouring in the fields is free to chatter all day long... (keeps the predators at bay, too...) Men speak less because it isn't needed in the strictly Darwinian sense. I rest my case and hope that my Wife doesn't want to me to explain it to her in excruciating detail (sigh).
Persophone..Wow, sexist, rude AND arrogant.
I'm not sure where that came from. I meant it as a compliment.

Hiedi..Hey there - stirring the pot again I see – you just love this!!
So would you be introspective for a moment and tell me your view on whether that is a good or a bad thing?

It's not good or bad. It's just the way it is. BTW, I am stirring this up enough to get my own radio talk show beginning in Feb 2009. I guess I must learn to talk more.

Darryl.. You are a man's man.
I will use your own example of football to highlight the male inclination toward “unnecessary verbosity.”

Listen to the male commentators on a 3-hour football game (BTW, speak this aloud with increasing excitement) “This running back is only the third in NFL history to run more than 100 yards in 10 or more post-season games outside in temperatures less than 30 degrees while in his rookie season!!!”

This drives me insane - they should just shut up and let us watch the game already. But I guess "It's just the way it is."
Heidi..This drives me insane - they should just shut up and let us watch the game already. But I guess "It's just the way it is."

I agree.
Heidi is right about football. Whenever I watch any professional sport (in my home) I ensure that the sound is turned WAAAAAY down! So shrill, so piercing... I am quite sure that those creatures don't even exist on my end of the galaxy. This coming from a former Jock too...
Food for thought, hmmm....
I suggest you spend some time reading Language Log before you venture to comment on whether women talk more than men. Anecdotes don't trump evidence.
And a 700-word post certainly isn't short.
Well, you got our attention. What's next? Do you dance?
Most studies have found that men talk as much or even more than women, and are more likely to interrupt in conversation. But men's conversations revolve around four subjects- sports, jokes, jobs and women/sex. Women's conversations are much more expansive in terms of subject matter. That's probably the reason for the discrepancy in your word count study; a man might say, "Cardinals suck!" and it only counts as two words, even if he screams it 15 times. A study measuring the time spent speaking, or every word spoken would be more accurate.
As this information has little practical usage, but cost a bundle in the form of college tuition, I bring it up whenever possible. Gender notwithstanding.