In GENDER AND DISCOURSE best-selling and highly respected linguist Deborah Tannen has gathered together five of her essays on language and gender to elaborate the theoretical and empirical framework that underlies her best-selling book, YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. In an informative introduction, Tannen discusses her field of linguistics, describes the research methods she typically uses, and addresses the controversies associated with her field as well as some misrepresentations of her work. The essays themselves cover a wide range of topics. In one, she analyses a number of conversational strategies- such as interruption, topic raising, indirectness, and silence-and shows that, contrary to earlier work on language and gender, no strategy is linked inflexibly to dominance or powerlessness in conversation. Interruption (or overlap) can be supportive as well as dominant; silence and indirectness can express control as well as powerlessness. The interactional context, the participants' individual styles, and the interaction of their styles, Tannen shows, all influence the balance of power.
In these essays, she peels back the layers of complexity and strategy underlying even the most basic of conversational interactions to reveal a world where much more than the literal meaning of words is being communicated. Readers interested in a deeper and more detailed understanding of Tannen's work will find this volume fascinating. It will be sure to interest anyone curious about the crucial yet often unnoticed role that language and gender play in our daily lives.