Conversation between the sexes: Deborah Tannen

Length: 4 Pages 899 Words

In my opinion both styles of communication have positive and negative aspects. It only gets problematic if men decode women's conversational style according to their rules and if women look at men's way to communicate from their point of view. This leads to striking misunderstandings between the sexes and to wrong interpretations of what has been said. "If women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy, while men speak and hear a language of status and independence, then communication between men and women can be like cross-cultural communication, prey to a clash of conversational styles" (Tannen, 1992, p. ).Basically, men pursue a style of conversational interaction based on power, while women pursue a style based on solidarity and support. female communication obeys other rules than male communication, and men and women therefore have other expectations of a conversation. The sexes differ in their opinions of what constitutes a good conversation, of how conversation should progress, of how important it is to let a current speaker finish his term and of how substantial it is to support the interlocutor actively. In the following passages I will concretely describe some means of communication which imply something dif Continue...


They want to talk about what is in their interest, no matter whether there is a link to the previous subject of discussion or not. Furthermore women make an effort to respond to what their interlocutor has said before and then forge links to a similar topic. Eventhough men sit in the back, one can not assume they are not listening and vice versa with women. Subsequently women speak less than men and are hurt as such behavior violates the rules of their co-operatively organised conversational style. English and history classes are conversationally dominated by women and math and science classes by men, with a few exceptions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography. Another point says that men and women are active participants in conversation in the classroom because of the subject. Tannen first observed how one husband in particular group spoke more at the group conversation than he ever does at home. Men sometimes !do not understand that what for them forms a natural part of conversation would make women feel rough and unfriendly. This conclusion and above explained descriptions of several conversational methods by the sexes confirm Deborah Tannen's thesis of the male orientation on competition and status and the female alignment with connection and consensus. The only changing variable is the place of conversation, a classroom. Questions, for example, are used more frequently by women than by men and women often employ them as a method to facilitate and maintain the flow of communication. Women then often wait in vain for a question posed to them which, from their viewpoint, would balance the conversation and indicate interrelation. ferent to men than to women and consequently are often interpreted differently depending on the sex. Whether this pattern has to do with learned respect in the classroom or not, it is linguistically opposite of the patterns observed previously.