That's Not What I Meant Summary

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1 Deborah Tannen, Ph.D. That’s Not What I Meant!. Amazon, 1987. Reviewed by Shelby D. Slocum, Pittsburg State University, KS. This book provides an explanation of the common misconceptions in communication. Author Tannen begins with details behind communication misconceptions, which leads with indirectness. The book was written to provide knowledge on communication to defeat the common barriers in everyday life. She states in the beginning there are two major ways communication tends to advance, smooth or choppy. You meet someone for the first time and conversation continues to flow with lack of effort, or you meet someone and the conversation takes great effort and goes nowhere. The book was written to determine the reasoning behind each. The book was written in an articulated economical way that provides academic knowledge for both scholarly and personal audiences. As mentioned earlier, indirectness is the main reason behind communication misconceptions. Americans often associate dishonesty and uncompleted stories with indirectness. Tannen stresses that this view is not fair and unrealistic. We often speak in a roundabout way to keep the conversation at peace, and motives to do so are politeness, protection, etc. The conflicting need for involvement…show more content…
To better understand this, the author gives an example of a table at a restaurant raising their voices, and their conversation is interpreted as being heated, but they burst out in laughter seconds later. Subtle signs like, pitch, tone, intonation and facial expression matched with words depicts the frame of each utterance into a certain category. The categories consist of, serious, joking, teasing, angry, etc. Framing can only be done indirectly through metamessages. If you try to name a frame, the entire frame changes. Another example of this that is mentioned in the text

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