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Texting, Linguistics, Gender and Murder

Posted By Holly Buchanan On September 25, 2008 @ 4:48 am In Improving Conversion,Persuasive Copywriting | 7 Comments

I’ve done a lot of research on male vs. female communication styles.  But apparently these gender differences aren’t limited to conversation, there are also distinct linguistic styles in texting.   This bit of linguistic difference even helped convict a man of murder [1].

Jenny Nicholl disappeared on 30th June 2005. A linguistic analysis showed that text messages sent from her phone were unlikely to have been written by her but, rather, were more likely to have been written by her ex-lover, David Hodgson. A number of stylistic points identified within texts known to have been written by Jenny Nicholl were not present in the suspect messages. Instead, these were stylistically close to the undisputed messages of David Hodgson.

I have to tell you – the mere thought of a term like “forensic linguistics [1]” makes my brain buzz.    I’m just enough of a geek to think that would be one cool job.

What we say, and how we say it, write it, or text it says volumes about who we are.

Why is this important to you if you’re a marketer and not a prosecuting attorney?   People respond when you speak “their language.”  Even subtle differences in wording or phrasing can make a huge difference in conversion.

I was working with a financial client recently, and we found the word “legacy” had different meanings for different people.   For some, it was positive.  For others, it sounded egotistical.

Ahh…the power of words.   Thanks to Jeff Sexton for sending me the forensic linguistic article [1].   I love Jeff’s writing and always find it insightful, even if he does use “thesaurus words.”  [2] :)


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URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/09/25/texting-linguistics-gender-and-murder/

URLs in this post:

[1] helped convict a man of murder: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908073841.htm

[2] thesaurus words.”  : http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/09/19/7-principles-of-web-20-copy-twitter-style/

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