Deborah Tannen - Sex, Lies, and Conversation
Deborah Tannen is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships. She is best known as the author of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 31 languages. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness. Her most recent book, You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives, also a New York Times best seller, received a Books for a Better Life Award and was featured on 20/20 and NPR's Morning Edition.
Among her other books, You're Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation spent ten weeks on the New York Times best seller list; Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work was a New York Times Business best seller; The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words received the Common Ground Book Award; and I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults received a Books for a Better Life Award.
Deborah Tannen is a frequent guest on television and radio news and information shows, including The Colbert Report, 20/20, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Talk Show, PBS NewsHour, Charlie Rose, Oprah, Hardball, Nightline, many shows on CNN and NPR including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, and Fresh Air. She has been featured in and written for most major newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, People, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.
Deborah Tannen is one of only six in Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences who hold the distinguished rank of University Professor. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and spent a term in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; she has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in Palo Alto, California. The recipient of five honorary doctorates, she is a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition to her seven books for general audiences, Tannen is author or editor of sixteen books and over one hundred articles for scholarly audiences. She has also published poems, short stories, and personal essays. Her first play, "An Act of Devotion," is included in The Best American Short Plays 1993-1994. It was produced, together with her play "Sisters," by Horizons Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.http://faculty.georgetown.edu/tannend/
Questions to consider for writing
What gives women the impression that men do not listen?
According to Tannen, what can men and women do to remedy the communication problems that exist in many relationships?
Tannen begins her essay with an anecdote. Why does she begin with a paragraph of narration?
How does this story set the tone for the rest of the essay?
Write an essay comparing the way men and women character speak in films or on television. Use examples to support your points.
Tannen contrasts the communications patterns of men and women students in classroom settings. After observing a few of your own classes, write an essay drawing a comparison between the communication patterns of your classmates or friends.
What is Tannen’s purpose in writing this essay? Does she want to inform or persuade? On what do you base your conclusions?