You Just Don't Understand

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Deborah Tannen is the author of the book You Just Don't Understand where she analyzes the different meanings of communication between men and women. Her research shows that women and men use the same words and phrases and yet can interpret and react to those same words and phrases differently. Tannen compares the two sexes to find men use their conversation as a type of competition or to preserve their independence. For example, men talk about their knowledge regarding sports, cars, women, exc. Meanwhile, women try to foster intimacy through communication. For instance, women often talk and relate on a personal level. Throughout Tannen's book she uses "cross-cultural communication" to describe the differences between the language of men and women. Tannen observed that, "For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and talking. For boys, activities, doing things together, are central. Just sitting and talking is not an essential part of friendship. They're friends with the boys they do things with" (Tannen 95). Tannen observed that communication begins with children. While a child grows they learn to speak from their parents and peers. Boy and girls may grow up within the same household but learn to communicate differently with each other. In groups children often play with the same sex: i.e. girls with girls, boys with boys. Although Tannen did a study on communication between men and women, she started with the interactions and communication of children. Her study concludes boys tend to play outside within large groups usually playing: sports, army, or cops and robbers. One boy in the group tends to take control, over the rest of the members, making him the leader. Meanwhile,...
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