That's Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships

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Overview

"We are, all of us, foreigners to each other: editor and writer, man and woman, Californian and New Yorker, friend and friend. Dr. Tannen shows us how different we are, and how to speak the same language."
Jack Rosenthal
Pultizer Prize winner and editor
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Deborah Tannen, who revolutionaized our thinking about relationships between women and men in her bestsller YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND, shows...
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That's Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships

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Overview

"We are, all of us, foreigners to each other: editor and writer, man and woman, Californian and New Yorker, friend and friend. Dr. Tannen shows us how different we are, and how to speak the same language."
Jack Rosenthal
Pultizer Prize winner and editor
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Deborah Tannen, who revolutionaized our thinking about relationships between women and men in her bestsller YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND, shows that conversational confusion between the sexes is only part of the picture. In THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!, Dr. Tannen shows that growing up in different parts of the country, having different ethnic and class backgrounds, even age and indvidual personality, all contribute to different conversational styles. Entertaining and informative, this is an essential complement to psychological theories of human behavior. No one who has read Deborah Tannen's fascinating look at women and men will want to miss a word of it!

That's Not What I Meant is a unique new guide to remedying relationships with easy-to-understand explanations of how we say what we say.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Part pop psychology, part sociology and part anthropology, this book by a linguistics professor at Georgetown University focuses on the uncomfortable moments when a conversation inexplicably breaks down, and suggests how such awkwardness can be avoided. Noting that there exist a plethora of books on public speaking, Tannen instead considers ``private speaking,'' and particularly the ``metamessages'' we transmitwhat we say, our attitude toward those we speak with, and the specific occasioninvolving such elements as loudness, pitch and intonation. Using scenarios that illustrate communication gaps, Tannen also attempts to show readers how to save their marriages and triumph in job interviews. BOMC alternate. January 17
Library Journal
Tannen, whose field is cross-cultural linguistics, focuses on conversational style rather than psychological content, and explains why good intentions are not enough. We begin all conversations with some expectation of how they will progress. If our expectations differ, unexpected responses seem irrational, and we may accuse each other of being deliberately obstructive. She emphasizes that there are no right or wrong ways to converse, only ways which work or don't work. By recognizing differences in style, and learning to work with them rather than against them, we can avoid misunderstanding. Tannen's writing is lively, she states her case clearly, and provides a fresh look at a subject which concerns us all. Recommended for popular collections. Margaret B. Allen, formerly with Bennington Free Lib., Vt.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345340900
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1987
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen is Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Her books include the New York Times bestsellers You Just Don't Understand, You're Wearing THAT?, Talking from 9 to 5, and You Were Always Mom's Favorite!. She has written for and been featured in numerous major newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, the Washington Post, and Time.

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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

Preface

Acknowledgments

I Linguistics And Conversational Style 15

1 The Problem Is The Process 17

2 The Workings Of Conversational Style 29

3 Conversational Signals And Devices 45

Part I Conversational Signals 47

Part II Conversational Devices At Work 54

II Conversational Strategies 63

4 Why We Don't Say What We Mean 65

Part I Why We Won't Say What We Mean 66

Part II Why We Can't Say What We Mean 71

5 Framing And Reframing 82

6 Power And Solidarity 101

III Talking At Home: Conversational Style in Close Relationships 119

7 Why Things Get Worse 121

8 Talk In The Intimate Relationship: His And Hers 133

9 The Intimate Critic 152

IV What You Can And Can't Do With Conversational Style 175

10 Talking About Ways Of Talking 177

Notes 201

Bibliography 206

Index 209

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2002

    Great Book !!!

    That's Not What I Meant! How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships. Deborah Tannen explains how something very small we said can turn a whole conversation upside down, bringing the opposite result of what we expected. Be it between friends, lovers, or even diplomatic ambassadors, she shows how the way we talk, anything from the tone we say a word to a single finger's gesture can change completely the meaning of our talk, and gives advice and suggestions on how to talk better and have more successful communication with everyone around us. What Tannen does in this book is show how some of the common communication differences between men and women in relationships have their basis in fundamental differences in the way men and women perceive each other and relationships in general. And furthermore, that these fundamental differences, often hidden below the surface, can have profound, and often negative, effects on all kinds of relationships throughout a person's life, unless they are brought into the light of day. In effect, what Tannen is trying to do is to get people to be more aware of how they habitually communicate, the possible reasons why they communicate in those ways, and how the things they say and do may affect others. I strongly recommend this book for both men and women in ongoing close relationships. Once you have read it, you will never see communication in your relationships in quite the same way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

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