LINGUIST List 8.990

Fri Jul 4 1997

Sum: 'I'd love to.' & 'lovely'

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Junichi Murata, Sum:'I'd love to.' & 'lovely'

Message 1: Sum:'I'd love to.' & 'lovely'

Date: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 11:08:50 +0900
From: Junichi Murata <>
Subject: Sum:'I'd love to.' & 'lovely'

 Several weeks ago I sent out the following questionnaire about the
expressions with 'I'd love to ...' and 'lovely', specifically in terms
of their gender-linked difference.

- --------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Please tick
 English variety: American English speaker [ ], 
 British English speaker [ ],
 Others [ ] 
		( Please describe what variety you speak.( ))
 Sex: Male [ ], Female [ ]
 Age: -20[ ], 20-30[ ], 30-40[ ], 
		40-50 [ ], 50-60[ ] , 60+[ ]
 Please read the following expressions and put into each
parenthesis the number
 1, if you think that the expression has been and still is preferred
by women.
 2, if you think that it used to be preferred by women but there is
no preference now
 (or there is less and less preference between the sexes.) 
 3, if you feel that there has been no preference as far as you


 A. [ ] "I'd love to." (in response to "Would you like to come 
to the party? ")
 B. [ ] "I'd love to." (in response to "Would you like to dance? ")
 C. [ ] I'd love to see you act Hamlet.
 D. [ ] I'd love you to come with us.
 E. [ ] What a lovely view!
 F. [ ] We've had a lovely dinner/time.
 G. [ ] It's lovely and warm in here.
 H. [ ] Isn't it a lovely day?

 I've received 32 replies. Here I would like to thank those who
took time to give me information including a lot of comments and
intuitions, although I can't list their names because of the limited

Here is a summary.

 First of all, I must admit that, as some respondents claim, this type
of survey is dangerous from a methodological point of view. That is,
people don't speak as they think they do. However, I also think that
this kind of survey at least shows how they perceive certain
expressions, which I think is very important and meaningful for the
study of certain expressions.

The following table shows the numbers of people, according to their
responses for each expression, and the sexes. In this table, I don't
include those whose variety of English is neither British nor American
because I think the number of the respondens (5) is too small to make
any proper judgement. The same is true of the results of British
speakers (the number is also 5) but I include them just for
information. Thus, in the following analysis, I will deal with only
American English.
 1 2 3
 Am Brit Am Brit Am Brit
 m f m f m f m f m f m f
A 1 3 2 0 4 4 0 1 6 5 1 1 
B 6 6 2 1 2 2 0 0 3 4 1 1
C 3 3 2 0 2 1 0 0 6 8 1 2
D 5 6 3 2 2 3 0 0 3 3 1 0
E 6 5 1 0 2 5 1 1 3 1 1 1
F 8 8 1 1 1 2 0 1 2 2 2 1
G 9 6 2 0 0 2 0 1 2 1 1 1 
H 7 6 0 0 2 1 2 0 2 4 1 1 

 There is a great difference among the respondents and it is quite
difficult to generalize the sexual preference in a decisive way. For
example, some respondents don't see any gender-linked difference at
all, while some think all the expressions are preferred by women. I
also admit that, from a strict statistical point of view, I may not
give any strong judgement from this data. Despite these limitations,
it is safe to say that this data suggests at least the following

1) Expression A and C have not been thought to be preferred
particularly by women. They may have changed in their usage.

2) Expression B and D have been thought to be preferred by women.
However, as many respondents point out, the reason Expression B is
preferred by women is not linguistic but pragmatic. That is, it is
still customary for men to ask women to dance.

3) As for expressions E to H (with 'lovely'), most people think that
they are preferred by women.

4) There is little difference between the male respondents and female
respondents in the perception of most of the expressions.

 5) It is noteworthy that there are a number of people who feel there
is a change in sexual preference for most of the expressions.

As some respondents point out, there may be a difference between
American English and British English concerning these expressions,
although I cannot give any judgement on that point because of the
small number of British English speaking respondents as I mentioned
above. In addition, some respondents suggest that there may be
difference between age groups. I will pursue these points in a further

Thanks again for the contributions. 

Junichi Murata
Dept. of English
Kobe City Univ. of Foreign Studies 

- ---------
Junichi Murata
Kobe City University of Foreign Studies
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