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Genderlect Styles of Deborah Tannen

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1 Genderlect Styles of Deborah Tannen
In Em Griffin’s A First Look at Communication Theory Third Edition,Chapter 34

Tannen believes that all men speak in a male style and all women speak in a female style.

3 CLICKER QUESTION # 2 According to Tannen, men and women ask questions for exactly the same reasons. A = TRUE B = FALSE

4 QUESTION #3: Report Talk
Report talk refers to the female style of informing people. A = TRUE B = FALSE

5 “Male-female conversation is cross-cultural communication.” (p. 447)
Female and male styles of conversation are equally valid Men are not trying to dominate women Women are not trying to manipulate men There are feminine and masculine styles of discourse--like 2 cultural dialects

6 The Movie: “When Harry Met Sally”

7 Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends. Sally Albright: Why not? Harry Burns: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. Sally Albright: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved. Harry Burns: No you don't. Sally Albright: Yes I do.

8 Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do. Harry Burns: You only think you do. Sally Albright: You say I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge? Harry Burns: No, what I'm saying is they all WANT to have sex with you. Sally Albright: They do not!

9 Sally Albright: They do not. Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Do too. Sally Albright: They do not. Sally Albright: How do you know? Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her. Sally Albright: So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive? Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too.

10 Sally Albright: What if THEY don't want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story. Sally Albright: Well, I guess we're not going to be friends then. Harry Burns: I guess not. Sally Albright: That's too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

11 When Harry Met Sally Vs. Two individuals quarreling about sex
What sex means to the parties involved Vs. Harry might regard Sally as a resident of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sally might see Harry as coming from the Planet of the Apes or Animal House Sally wants intimacy Harry wants independence

12 Feminine Focus/Masculine Focus According to Tannen
women seek human connection men are concerned mainly with status boys & men are working hard to preserve their independence girls and women feel it is crucial to be liked by their peers Vs. men are jockeying for position on a hierarchy of competitive accomplishment symmetrical connections asymmetrical status


14 Report Talk vs. Rapport Talk
MALE FEMALE Public Speaking Private Speaking Vs. Telling a story Telling a story Listening Listening Asking Questions= Meaning 2 Asking Questions = Meaning 1 Conflict=Meaning 2 Conflict= Meaning 1

15 Private Speaking [Tannen finds that]“. . . women talk more than
men in private conversations ” (p. 451) “. . . Sally’s rapport style of relating doesn’t transfer well to the public arena where men vie for ascendancy and speak much more than women.” (p. 451)

16 LISTENING “Whereas women’s cooperative overlaps frequently annoy men by seeming to co-opt their topic, men frequently annoy women by usurping or switching the topic.”9 (p. 452)

17 Public Speaking “Harry’s lecture style is typical of the way men seek to establish a ‘one up’ position.” (p. 451) “Men’s monologue style of communication is appropriate for report, but not for rapport.” (p. 451)

18 Telling a Story “Men’s humorous stories have a can-you-top-this? Flavor that serves to hold attention and elevate the storyteller above his audience.”452) “On the other hand, women tend to express their desire for community by telling stories about others. On rarer occasions when a woman is a character in her own narrative, she usually describes herself as something foolish rather than acting in a clever manner.” (p. 452)

19 LISTENING “ Woman listening to a story or explanation tends to hold eye contact, to offer head nods, and to react with ‘yeah, uh-huh, mnnn, right” or other responses that indicate ‘I’m listening’ or ‘I’m with you.’” (p. 452) “When a woman who is listening starts to speak before the other person is finished, she usually does so to add a word of agreement, to show support, or to finish a sentence with what she thinks the speaker will say. Tannen labels this ‘cooperative overlap.’ ” (p. 452)

20 Women Asking Questions
To establish a connection To soften the sting of potential disagreement For information in a way that validates the other’s expertise

21 Men Asking Questions Asking a question whittles away at the image of self-sufficiency Men ask questions of the expert to engage in verbal sparing Public face is important to men

22 Men & Conflict Since life is a contest, men are more comfortable with conflict than are women Men are less likely to hold themselves in check Men have an early warning system that detects signs that they are being told what to do

23 Women & Conflict in a 2-couple setting p. 453
Conflict is a threat to connection To be avoided

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