Genderlect

Genderlect Styles by Deborah Tannen

Male-female conversation is cross cultural

Tannen introduces a sociolinguistic study on how miscommunication occurs all the time between men and women.

Cross into another country or geographical border, acknowledge we do not understand the language.

But women and men do not realize they are in a cross cultural encounter when they talk to each other.

She examined discourse between girls and boys and found their conversations/discourse as if they were two different species

Both asked to talk about something serious

Boys were restless, never looked at each other, jumped from topic to topic and talked about games and competition

Girls would sit comfortably face to face and carry on serious conversation about people they knew

FEMININE FOCUS ON CONNECTION VS MASCULINE FOCUS ON STATUS

Women seek human connection

Men seek status/competition/accomplishment

Sally sees intimacy and sex as the beginning of a relationship

Harry sees intimacy and sex as the end of the relationship

"Score" "Nailed her" "Had my way with her" "Jumped her bones".

 

 1. Public Speaking vs. Private speaking

Women talk more in private conversations

Men strive for one up positioning and avoid small talk or self disclosure


2. Telling a story

The stories people tell about themselves reveal a great deal about their hopes, needs and values

Menís humorous stories have an air of "Can you top this one?"

3. Listening

Women hold eye contact, offer head nods or yeah..uhuh..or other responses to show they are actively listening. Interupts to offer support

Menís overt style is to say "I agree with you" to avoid a one down stance. Men interrupt to take control of the conversation or to switch the conversation

4. Asking Questions

Women ask questions to establish a connection or tag a question to the end of a sentence. "That was a good movie, donít you think?"

Men donít ask for help. For them questions are a form of verbal sparing. Public face is Far more important to men.

5. Conflict

To women, conflict is a threat to connection Ė to be avoided at all costs

Since life is a contest, men are more comfortable with conflict

Examples:

BOWLING CONVERSATIONS

BASKETBALL

CATHY CARTOON STRIP

 

Tannen thinks men should take sensitivity training while women should take assertiveness courses

Films

" WHEN HARRY MET SALLY"

"GREASE"