You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation
You Just Don't Understand Women and Men in Conversation Author:Deborah Tannen M.D. Georgetown University linguistics professor Tannen here ponders gender-based differences that, she claims, define and distinguish male and female communication. Opening with the rationale that ignoring such differences is more dangerous than blissful, she asserts that for most women conversation is a way of connecting and negotiating. Thus, thei... more »r parleys tend to center on expressions of and responses to feelings, or what the author labels "rapport-talk" (private conversation). Men, on the other hand, use conversation to achieve or maintain social status; they set out to impart knowledge (termed "report-talk," or public speaking). Calling on her research into the workings of dialogue, Tannen examines the functioning of argument and interruption, and convincingly supports her case for the existence of "genderlect," contending that the better we understand it, the better our chances of bridging the communications gap integral to the battle of the sexes.« less
tani reviewed You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation on
Helpful Score: 1
The book begins: "Many years ago I was married to a man who shouted at me, 'I do not give you the right to raise your voice to me, because you are a woman and I am a man.'... Now I am married to a man who is a partner and friend...It is a continual source of pleasure to talk to him...But he doesn't always see things as I do, doesn't always react to things as I expect him to. And I often don't understand why he says what he does." And with that, I was hooked. It is a fascinating book, written by a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, yet it is not pedantic, but lively and interesting throughout.
From the cover, a blurb from The Washington Post: People are telling Tannen that the book is saving their marriages. What she is saying is that men and women grow up behaving in such profoundly different ways, and seeing themselves connecting to others in such profoundly different ways, that the two sexes are really trying to communicate across two different cultures.
Tannen has not only a marvelous ear for the way people participate in real conversations, but she is able to express her analysis of this communicative interaction in a teachable fashion. This reads in a chatty manner to convey earnest advice to improve relationships.
A readable, penetrating, and sometimes sobering account of the differences between the way men and women think that goes a long way to clear up the often frustting barriers to communication between the sexes.