Most women can’t resist a good gossip.
But it seems discussing other people over a bottle of wine is more than just a enjoyable time pass among girlfriends.
Women have a basic evolutionary need to voice concerns about others to their peers, a new book has shown.
Between friends: Women are used to sharing information with each other about others as a bonding method
The desire stems from a deeper need to protect the community they live in.
Duels and Duets author John L. Locke, a professor of linguistics, told Salon.com: ‘The word gossip has a pejorative sound to it, but with it, women are, in a sense, servicing the moral code of the community.
‘One study of gossip showed that gossipers were concerned about women who are bad housekeepers, and women who are bad mothers, and women who are promiscuous.
‘Those things are all threats to each woman in a community; therefore they have every good reason to want to talk about those things.’
Men however, are more concerned with displaying their strength and showing off to women, by ‘dueling’ – bantering and exchanging playful insults among boys.
Locke said: ‘The disposition to duel sort of seeps into everyday speech.
‘Like if two guys, for example, come up to each other, and one of them maybe insults him a little bit about his bulging midriff, or his thinning hair.
Verbal plumage: Men tend to use big words to impress the opposite sex
‘Women would simply never, never, never do that.’
The professor argues girls are more likely to comment to friends about another person’s appearance rather than tell them to their faces.
They are used to sharing information with each other or ‘dueting’, often finishing each other’s sentences as a bonding method.
Locke said: ‘When women are dueting and trading in intimate disclosures about themselves and their friends, they’re fortifying a relationship.
‘If you disclose secrets, they could harm you if they’re distributed, especially to foes or rivals.
‘So dueting tends to be reciprocal.’
And speech differences are also evident in both sexes when it comes to attracting a mate.
Women prefer men who speak with low voices, indicating testosterone levels and assertiveness.
Men also tend to use bigger words to impress the opposite sex.
Locke said: ‘Words used in a clever way are almost like the colorful feathers of a peacock, a display of what biologists would call fitness information that relates to their ability to reproduce.’