A critical summary of Deborah Tannen’s “The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why

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A critical summary of Deborah Tannen's "The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why

Tannen, D. 2001 " The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why". From Linguistics at Work: A Reader of Applications, edited by Dallin D. Oaks 242-259.

There is no particular way to communicate according the Deborah Tannen as communication is not just saying what you mean but how one communicates the meaning. Situation varies from one person to another. Language communicates ideas but a more powerful form of communication is social behavior (Tannen: 244). Language use is a learnt social behavior that allows us to negotiate relationships and it is influenced by cultural experience (Tannen 2001: 243). How we talk and express ourselves may be interpreted differently in other cultures and members of the opposite gender (Tannen 2001: 243). Deborah Tannen a linguist from Georgetown University did a research on the influence of linguistic style on conversations and human relationships and found that how we learn to speak as children affects our judgment of competence and confidence plus whether we get heard in a discussion later on in adulthood (Tannen 2001: 243).

She found that man and woman communicate differently and just like cross cultural communication, misunderstanding can occur. Women according to her research were often over looked when it came to opportunities for promotion because of their lack of self confidence as seen by their male bosses. But women, as Tannen proves have grown up in a different environment to their male colleagues and have learnt to communicate differently to men (Tannen2001: 244). This has sometimes been interpreted as being less competent and less confident (Tannen 2001: 244). An understanding of these differences could lead to better and fairer working environment for both men and women (Tannen : 242).

As children,