Gender and Conversational Interaction / Edition 1

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Overview

The author of the bestselling You Just Don't Understand has collected twelve papers about gender-related patterns in conversational interaction that challenge facile generalizations about gender-based styles and explore the complex relationship between gender and language. 20 line drawings.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This will be an excellent text for gender classes and for social psychology classes. Current, well-researched chapters with generous references, solid data, and a respectable base of theory."--M. Karraker, University of St. Thomas

"This volume is a useful addition to the language and gender literature....Everyone will find something of value in this volume, and the reprinting of Edelsky's fine paper cannot be too loudly applauded."--Applied Linguistics

"This important volume provides sophisticated theorizing on both gender and discourse. Gender in Conversational Interaction will help us clarify complex issues of theoretical and methodological research on the study of gender and language, and it will be immensely useful in courses on the topic.... There is a fine line between generalization and a stereotype; because of this insightful book, progress will be made in knowing where that line lies."--Language in Society

"The empirical studies and critical reviews Tannen has collected cogently explain why we can no longer be satisfied with facile generalizations about differences between men's and women's discourse."--Discourse and Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195081947
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1993
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Tannen
Georgetown University

Biography

In 2001, Deborah Tannen published a book that explored the eternally complex relationship between men and women, specifically why communication can be so darn difficult between the sexes. You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation clearly struck a chord with its readers, spending nearly four years on the New York Times bestseller list (holding the No. 1 spot for eight weeks) and having been translated into 29 languages. Bolstered by Tannen's extensive experience as a linguist, You Just Don't Understand has played a significant role in improving relations between men and women throughout the world.

Tannen followed her breakthrough work with several others that have tackled the difficulties in improving communication on the job (Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work), the source of argumentativeness (The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words), and general disagreements within families (I Only Say This Because I Love You). Now Tannen is turning her attention to improving communications between two groups that share one of the most complicated relationships of all: mothers and daughters.

You're Wearing That?: Understanding Daughters and Mothers in Conversation is yet another ambitious attempt to examine, understand, and resolve the long-standing communication difficulties that so often plague families. Tannen delineated the nature of the particularly thorny interactions between mothers and daughters in an article she recently wrote for The Washington Post. In her article, Tannen stated that "there is a special intensity to the mother-daughter relationship because talk -- particularly talk about personal topics -- plays a larger and more complex role in girls' and women's social lives than in boys' and men's. For girls and women, talk is the glue that holds a relationship together -- and the explosive that can blow it apart. That's why you can think you're having a perfectly amiable chat, then suddenly find yourself wounded by the shrapnel from an exploded conversation."

You're Wearing That? is her attempt to defuse such potential explosiveness, to get to the root of why daughters and mothers so often hit walls when relating to one another. Tannen's own strained relationship with her ailing mother was part of the impetus that caused her to begin asking the questions that this insightful book strives to answer. Along the way, she explored not only her own relationship with her mother but those of many others, as well. "I interviewed dozens of women of varied geographic, racial and cultural backgrounds," she explained in her article. "I had informal conversations or e-mail exchanges with countless others. The complaint I heard most often from daughters was, ‘My mother is always criticizing me.' The corresponding complaint from mothers was, ‘I can't open my mouth. She takes everything as criticism.' Both are right, but each sees only her perspective."

Once again, Tannen has proven her skills as a great communicator, and has penned another instant classic in the field of self-improvement. You're Wearing That? has already achieved bestseller status and inspired Miriam Wolf of the San Francisco Chronicle to call it "a book any mother would be proud her daughter wrote." Tannen should surely be proud that she has made such a significant and positive impact on those who have read her work.

Good To Know

Make no mistake: Deborah Tannen is not just another self-help guru. She has published an impressive body of work that includes 20 books and over 100 articles. She is also the recipient of five honorary doctorates.

Tannen may be most famous for her linguistics studies, but she has also published short stories, poems, personal essays, and plays. In fact, her first play, An Act of Devotion, was chosen for inclusion in The Best American Short Plays: 1993-1994.

The sage relationship advice that Tannen has imparted is not limited to the printed page. She has also lectured all over the world, once addressing an audience of U.S. senators and their spouses.

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Tannen:

"I lived in Greece for several years; I speak Greek and consider Greece my second home. The first book I ever wrote was literary criticism about a modern Greek writer, Lilika Nakou."

"One of the most exciting experiences I have ever had was seeing a play I wrote produced by Horizons Theater in Washington, D.C. Another was having my play An Act of Devotion accepted and published in Best American Short Plays 1993-1994."

"I didn't start grad school in linguistics until I was 30. When I graduated from college, I had no ambitions other than to travel and not to go grad school. I worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Manhattan, lived with my parents in Brooklyn, and saved my money to go to Europe on a one-way ticket. My plan was to go around the world. But I got only as far as Greece, where I got a job teaching English. It was through teaching English as a second language that I first became aware of linguistics."

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    1. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C. metro area
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 7, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Harpur College, 1966, Wayne State University, 1970; M.A. in Linguistics, UC Berkeley, 1976; Ph.D., 1979

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction 3
I Talking Among Friends
1 "Go Get Ya a French!": Romantic and Sexual Teasing Among Adolescent Girls 17
2 Cooperative Competition in Adolescent "Girl Talk," 32
3 Community and Contest: Midwestern Men and Women Creating Their Worlds in Conversational Storytelling 62
II Conflict Talk
4 Pickle Fights: Gendered Talk in Preschool Disputes 83
5 Tactical Uses of Stories: Participation Frameworks Within Boys' and Girls' Disputes 110
6 Gender, Politeness, and Confrontation in Tenejapa 144
III The Relativity of Discourse Strategies
7 The Relativity of Linguistic Strategies: Rethinking Power and Solidarity in Gender and Dominance 165
8 Who's Got the Floor? 189
IV Critical Reviews of the Literature
9 Women, Men, and Interruptions: A Critical Review 231
10 Understanding Gender Differences in Amount of Talk: A Critical Review of Research 281
Contributors 313
Index 317
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