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Gender and Conversational Interaction

Edited by Deborah Tannen

Publication Date - September 1993

ISBN: 9780195081947

352 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $97.00


The author of the best-selling You Just Don't Understand, Deborah Tannen, has collected twelve papers about gender-related patterns in conversational interaction. The theoretical thrust of the collection, like that of Tannen's own work, is anthropological and sociolinguistic: female and male styles are approached as different "cultural" practice. Beginning with Tannen's own essay arguing for the relativity of discourse strategies, the volume challenges facile generalizations about gender-based styles and explores the complex relationship between gender and language use. The chapters, some previously unpublished and some classics in the field, address discourse across the lifespan, including preschool, junior high school, and adult interaction. They explore such varied discourse contexts as preschool disputes, romantic and sexual teasing among adolescent girls, cooperative competition in adolescent "girl talk," conversational storytelling, a faculty committee meeting, children in an urban black neighborhood at play, and a legal dispute in a Tenejapan village in Mexico. Two chapters review and evaluate the literature on key areas of gender-related linguistic phenomena: interruption and amount of talk. Gender and Conversational Interaction will interest general readers as well as students and scholars in a variety of disciplines including linguistics, sociolinguistics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, women's studies, and communications.


"This will be an excellent text for gender classes and for social psychology classes. Current, well-researched chapters with generous references, solid data, and a respectable base of theory."--M. Karraker, University of St. Thomas

"This volume is a useful addition to the language and gender literature....Everyone will find something of value in this volume, and the reprinting of Edelsky's fine paper cannot be too loudly applauded."--Applied Linguistics

"This important volume provides sophisticated theorizing on both gender and discourse. Gender in Conversational Interaction will help us clarify complex issues of theoretical and methodological research on the study of gender and language, and it will be immensely useful in courses on the topic.... There is a fine line between generalization and a stereotype; because of this insightful book, progress will be made in knowing where that line lies."--Language in Society

"The empirical studies and critical reviews Tannen has collected cogently explain why we can no longer be satisfied with facile generalizations about differences between men's and women's discourse."--Discourse and Society