Here is a short clip of Deborah Tannen describing one way boys and girls express themselves differently:
She says boys tend to use language to establish status and negotiate their place in a hierarchy, whereas girls use it to establish rapport and feel the same as each other. Therefore, Tannen says,
they grow up with very different expectations about the place of language and the way we use conversational rituals to get done what we want done. Very often, walking away from the same conversation, women and men will have different interpretations. And often it’s because the women are focusing on the question of connection: Is this way of speaking bringing us closer together or putting us farther apart? And very often men are coming to the same conversation, looking at a different axis, different question: Is this conversation putting one of us in a one-up or a one-down position?
For related discussion, see my earlier post on gender differences in listening signals, which refers to Tannen’s book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation.