The Genderlect Theory: Explaining Communication Between Men And Women

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The Genderlect Theory: Explaining Communication Between Men and Women Communication is an essential part of everyday life. People encounter some form of communication with others on a daily basis, whether it is face-to-face, electronically, etc. However, communication is not universal in that everyone interacts with each other through these several methods. Thus, numerous studies about communication from different viewpoints have been conducted. One of these perspectives is analyzing communication through gender. In the book, You Just Don’t Understand, Deborah Tannen (1990) popularized the term “genderlect” to describe the way in which men and women communicate with each other. She suggested that men and women have different styles of conversing, forming two distinct dialects. In a review of Tannen’s book, DeFrancisco (1992) attributed the differing communication styles of men and women to the respective cultures in which they grow up. Because of such gender differences, misunderstanding between men and women creates a gap in the communication process. Tannen used her genderlect theory to help bridge that gap by acknowledging and achieving an understanding of the language of each gender. Conversation between men and women can be described like cross-cultural communication. This is the basis of Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand. In an effort to bridge that communication gap between genders, she examined the differences between how and why people communicate. According to

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