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You Just Don't Understand
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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, their 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. (June)

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