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Genderlect Style Theory Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

Communication is a necessary skill for success in life. Misunderstandings in communication occur frequently between people due to language and perceptual differences. In intimate relationships, this misunderstanding in communication between the man and the woman leads to great agitation and tension -- seemingly the two sexes speak in completely different vernaculars. The Genderlect Style Theory explains that men and women talk in distinct cultural dialects and mannerisms, which reflect the different genders’ objectives; men desire status and achievement, while women desire personal connection and relationships (Littlejohn & Foss, 2009). In the following pages, I will identify the theorist behind the Genderlect Style Theory, examine her educational history, and discuss other contributions she has made in the world of social sciences and psychology. Using physical examples, I will demonstrate the Genderlect Style Theory in the real world to steel our understanding. Lastly, I will explain what I have personally gleaned from my research.
According to Littlejohn and Foss, editors of the “Encyclopedia of Communication Theory”, the theorist Deborah Tannen was born on June 7, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of three Jewish girls, Tannen was considered the black sheep of her family because she continually isolated herself from others and seemingly lacked social skills. Pushed by her parents to excel in school, Tannen sped through the state’s curriculum and graduated from Hunter College High School in 1962 at the age of eleven. Continuing her education, Tannen received both her Bachelor’s from Harpur College in 1966 and Master’s from Wayne State University in 1970 in English Literature. Dissatisfied with her current position and desiring a deeper understanding of the interplay between society and communication, Tannen changed states and switched her focus. Later at the University of California: Berkeley, Tannen received both her Master’s in 1976 and Doctorate in 1979 in Linguistics. Currently, Tannen is a Professor of Sociolinguistics at Georgetown University, where she continues teaching and researching on family interaction, gender cross-cultural communication, and the argumentative nature of conversation. Now with the addition of five honorary doctorates and over twenty-two publications on subjects ranging from pure linguistics to discourse analysis, Tannen has traveled all over the world lecturing students on the importance of effective interpersonal communication. In the United States, Deborah Tannen is best known for her book entitled “You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation”, which was published in 1990 and remained on top of the New York Time bestseller list for eight months.
This book focuses on the Genderlect Style Theory, which claims “that the best way to describe the communication between genders is in a cross-cultural format” (Pearson, Turner, & West 2011, p.147); not to say that one gender communicates right...

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