Deborah Tannen But What Do You Mean

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“But What Do You Mean” Relating to Society The question, “why do men and women so often communicate badly, if at all?” Has influenced and motivated Tannen. In “But What Do You Mean” by Deborah Tannen, she discusses many areas of difficulty in communication between men and women. Tannen’s purpose was for her readers to understand the importance of communication, she also has identified several ways in which men and women miscommunicate, and she has taught her readers a few things about our society and how it can be improved. Tannen’s purpose was for her readers to understand the importance of communication especially in the work field. She tells a story about a female co-worker, Deidre, who co-wrote a report with a male co-worker, William. Deirdre was hurt when her co-worker William gave her “ A lengthy detailed critique” (Tannen, 331). When she asked for Williams opinion she was expecting a compliment, not criticism. Deirdre thought that since she gave him a compliment, she would get one in return because that is how most women think. For example, In today's society if a women compliments a persons hair, the other girl would probably compliment her outfit, or shoes, or just return the compliment. In this short story Tannen shows how men and women have different habits in regards to giving praise. Tannen identified several ways in which…show more content…
Fighting and debating is something women are better at in my opinion. Women are not afraid to stand up to men's opinions or voice their own. Tannen's mentions how simple verbal functions could be interpreted in many different ways. She talks about “conversation rituals” meaning that our words are very powerful, and people should be careful of what they say. She also wants her readers to know that men and women should also communicate with one another outside of the working fields and in their
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