Writing Response: How women and men communicate

Question:  Given that Tannen (author) is concerned with classroom dynamics, why does she open her essay with a discussion of sociologists and anthropologists? how do the framing of ideas of those experts contribute to her descriptions of classroom dynamics? In particular, how does she use the concept of “ritual opposition” to help build her argument.


The professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, Deborah Tannen, wrote the book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, in 1990, which made it to the New York Times best seller list and stayed there for almost four years. After reading an abstract of her article, I found really interesting her point of view and despite I don’t share most of her thoughts because of my personal experience, I find her way for writing pretty convincing. The fact that she includes studies from sociologists and anthropologists helps her state her argument more clearly and helps a lot with the development of the essay itself. The example of how  ancient rituals can be compared to day to day interactions between women and men really blew my mind. I had never thought of the old way of expressing grief and how, throughout the years, they have shaped our way of communicating. I also must say that the way she writes makes it pleasant to read her arguments, even for people like me, who don’t believe her; but that is just because in my own personal experience, I have seen how girls are usually the ones talking in a classroom setting and how, against any believe, guys are big gossipers. but, that might just be my own perception of it.

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