Women are better at learning languages than males, right?

Prepared by Brook Beyene

You may occasionally have a question come to your mind when you consider the disparities between men and women. Do women learn languages more effectively than men? Numerous papers and publications demonstrate the answer to this question is really yes.

Ladies are often thought to be more adept at learning new languages than men. This is because women tend to have better verbal skills, better memory, and better multitasking abilities. Women are generally referred to as having better verbal fluency and verbal memory in several textbooks and popular research materials. But is this a true statement?

There is still much debate over sex/gender differences in cognitive abilities after more than 100 years of psychological research. A great deal of research has been conducted on the spatial and mathematical abilities of men, which are generally believed to be their strongest abilities.

Women/girls are generally believed to excel in verbal abilities, which are much less studied. Verbal abilities refer to all aspects of open or inner language production and comprehension and is not a unitary concept. For both writing ability and reading comprehension, previous meta-analyses reported medium effect sizes. The female advantage in verbal intelligence/reasoning and vocabulary, however, was not evident.

Yet, while alleging the presence of a female advantage, textbooks and review articles frequently refer to the verbal skills of verbal fluency and verbal memory.

Verbal-fluency and verbal-memory tests are often employed in psychological evaluations of developmental disabilities in children, disabilities and rehabilitation following strokes, and cognitive decline in dementia because of their correlation with general cognitive ability.

“Up to this point, the emphasis has mainly been on men’s superior ability. But lately, the emphasis has been more on women,” said Marco Hirnstein, a professor at the University of Bergen and the study’s lead author.

In a process known as a “meta-analysis,” Professor Hirnstein and his colleagues examined the data from every Ph.D. thesis, master’s thesis, and study they could locate that had been published in a scientific journal.

The meta-analysis included 496 effect sizes from 168 trials with 355,173 participants.

The researchers discovered that women are actually superior. The advantage is negligible but constant throughout the past 50 years and over the course of a person’s lifetime.

Moreover, they discovered that the gender/sex of the leading scientist influences the size of the female advantage: female scientists report a higher female advantage, whereas men scientists report a lower female advantage.

According to Professor Hirnstein, “most intellectual skills show no or small variations in average performance between men and women.

Yet, men typically perform better on particular jobs than women do on average.

Are women better language learners than men?

Men and women approach language learning very differently; men tend to learn more instrumentally, while women learn more in an integrative way. By integrative I mean that females tend to take a stronger interest in the culture, the country, and the speakers of the target language.

Also, it is commonly known that males are stronger at orienting than females, but that ladies naturally have a gift for language. They are thus better readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. You may be wondering at this point what all of this has to do with learning a language. The solution is very simple: in order to learn a new language, one needs to listen, talk, read and write in that language. This is the simplest and most precise response to that query.

The fact that girls (women) engage in more language elements (vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.) and abilities (speaking, reading, listening, etc.) than boys (men), who typically stay with just a few practical study methods, is another reason why women are better language learners than men.

The final justification I’ll mention is possibly the most crucial. The primary factor in why females learn languages faster than males is how their brains comprehend the language. The brain has a consistent structure. It is split into two hemispheres: the left (which controls reasoning and analysis) and the right (musical, visual, and non- linguistic processes). According to an experiment, men only use one hemisphere of the brain when speaking, whereas women use both. So, compared to men, women are more creative and interested in learning. Men learn better with the use of imagery and hearing, whereas females process languages more efficiently.

These are only a few of the explanations for why women are more adept language learners than men. Many scientists are still putting this notion to the test and looking for further information on this issue.

Women also tend to be more patient and have better social skills, which can help them learn a new language more quickly. Additionally, women are often more motivated to learn a new language, as they may be more likely to travel or move to a new country. Finally, women may be more likely to take language classes or use language-learning apps, which can help them learn a new language more quickly.


Journals Permissions. (2022, January 20). SAGE Publications Inc. https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/journals-permissions

Marco Hirnstein et al. Sex/Gender Differences in Verbal Fluency and Verbal-Episodic Memory: A Meta-Analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science, published online July 22, 2022; doi: 10.1177/174569162210821

Women are better language learners than men!? | gostudylink. (n.d.). https://gostudylink.net/en/blog/women-are-better-language-learners-than-men#:~:text=The%20main%20reason%20why%20females,and%20non%2D%20linguistic%20processes

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