Gender and Discourse [NOOK Book]

Overview


Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than three years (in cloth and paper) and has sold over a million and a half copies. Clearly, Tannen's insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other when they talk has touched a nerve. For years an internationally known and highly respected scholar in the field of linguistics, she has now become widely known for her work on how language both reflects and perpetuates the relationships ...
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Gender and Discourse

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Overview


Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than three years (in cloth and paper) and has sold over a million and a half copies. Clearly, Tannen's insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other when they talk has touched a nerve. For years an internationally known and highly respected scholar in the field of linguistics, she has now become widely known for her work on how language both reflects and perpetuates the relationships between men and women. Her life work has demonstrated how close and intelligent analysis of conversation can reveal the extraordinary complexities of social relationships--including relationships between men and women.
Now, in Gender and Discourse, Tannen has gathered together five of her scholarly essays--which provide a theoretical backdrop to her bestselling books--and an informative introduction which discusses her field of linguistics, describes the research methods she typically uses, and addresses the controversies surrounding her field as well as some misunderstandings of her work. (She argues, for instance, that her cultural approach to gender differences does not deny that men dominate women in society, nor does it ascribe gender differences to women's "essential nature.") The essays themselves cover a wide range of topics. In one, she analyzes a number of conversational strategies--such as interruption, topic raising, indirection, and silence--and shows that, contrary to much work on language and gender, no strategy leads inflexibly to dominance or submissiveness in conversation--interruption (or overlap) can be supportive, silence and indirection can be used to control. It is the interactional context, the participants' individual styles, and the interaction of their styles, Tannen shows, that result in the balance of power. She also provides a fascinating analysis of four groups of males and females (second-, sixth-, and tenth-grade students, and 25 year olds) conversing with their best friends, and she includes an early article co-authored with Robin Lakoff that presents a theory of conversational strategy, illustrated by analysis of dialogue in Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage.
Readers interested in the theoretical framework behind Tannen's work will find this volume fascinating. It will be sure to interest anyone curious about the crucial yet often unnoticed role that language and gender play in our daily lives.

Clearly, the author of the bestselling You Just Don't Understand posseses wonderful insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other. For this new work, Tannen has gathered together five of her scholarly essays--which provide a theoretical backdrop to her bestselling books--that address the controversies surrounding her field.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199727827
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/7/1994
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen is University Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She is the author of the best-selling You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse, That's Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Your Relations With Others, and Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk Among Friends.

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

Introduction 3
1 The Relativity of Linguistic Strategies: Rethinking Power and Solidarity in Gender and Dominance 19
2 Interpreting Interruption in Conversation 53
3 Gender Differences in Conversational Coherence: Physical Alignment and Topical Cohesion 85
4 Conversational Strategy and Metastrategy in a Pragmatic Theory: The Example of Scenes from a Marriage 137
5 Ethnic Style in Male-Female Conversation 175
Index 195
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Great book!

    I read that is not what i meant

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