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Deborah Tannen’s Opinion on Complicated Relations between the Concepts of Gender and Talkativeness Essay

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During a long period of time, researchers intend to find the answer to the question of how much women and men talk in comparison to each other. Furthermore, it is also important to answer the question about the criteria according to which the conclusions should be made (Tannen and Alatis 12).

From this point, the article “Who Does the Talking Here?” which is written by Deborah Tannen and published in the Washington Post in 2007 can be discussed as one more attempt to respond to the developed debates.

In her article, Tannen proposes to discuss the relation between the concepts of gender and talkativeness from the large perspective because these relations are rather complex.

Tannen claims that it is irrelevant to count words spoken by women and men without references to the concrete situations and speakers’ purposes, and although many popular researches are based on the principle of counting spoken words, Tannen’s position seems to be rather persuasive because the author not only provides a range of arguments to support her vision but also discusses the weaknesses of counterarguments in detail.

Tannen starts her article with drawing the audience’s attention to the controversial idea which contradicts with the public’s traditional visions. The author states that a group of researchers found the evidences to support the view that “women and men talk equally” (Tannen par. 1).

Tannen focuses on this research’s conclusion as the basic argument to state the necessity of re-thinking the visions of men and women’s talkativeness. Thus, the author continues presenting her idea while discussing the opinion about the females’ talkativeness which prevailed in the society during a long period of time.

The popular opinion is based on counting the words, as it is in Louann Brizendine’s study, according to which women speak 20,000 words a day, and men speak only 7,000 words a day (Tannen par. 2).

To oppose this idea, Tannen refers to the other researchers’ numbers which are 16,215 words spoken by women during a day and 15,669 words spoken by men (Tannen par. 2).

Paying attention to numbers which cannot appropriately reflect the real situation in the society, Tannen chooses to focus on the other approaches and criteria as more important in comparison with the method of counting the words.

Having stated the impossibility of the other researchers’ approach to discuss the situation with men and women’s talking in detail, Tannen presents clearly her own vision of the problem while asking the questions about the correlation between gender and language.

According to Tannen, “to understand who talks more, you have to ask: What’s the situation? What are the speakers using words for?” (Tannen par. 4). To support the importance of these questions, Tannen provides the vivid example to illustrate the role of the situation for men and women’s talking.

The example of a man who speaks more at the meetings than at home is effective to support the author’s vision of types of talking. Tannen states that women talk more when they want to focus on the people’s personal experience and feelings. This type of talking is the ‘rapport-talk’.

On the contrary, men prefer to provide people with some information, and it is the ‘report-talk’ (Tannen par. 7). The author’s discussion of these types of talking seems to be rather rational because the purposes of females and males’ speaking are explained clearly.

While developing the connection between the situation, purpose, and length of speeches, Tannen provides different real-life examples to support her conclusions.

Thus, it is necessary to pay attention to the purposes of speaking because women are inclined to be more talkative than men at home, when men are inclined to demonstrate their knowledge at work (Speer 23-25).

In her article, Tannen tries to focus on all the aspects of the issue and to discuss all the associated stereotypes. From this point, referring to the research by Campbell and Ayres, Tannen states that “women’s rapport-talk probably explains why many people think women talk more” (Tannen par. 11).

Moreover, people prefer to focus on others’ talking when they speak little (Tannen par. 12). As a result, Tannen leads the reader to understand the fact that in reality, women and men talk equally, but there are more situations when men can concentrate on women’s talkativeness.

In her article, Deborah Tannen builds a strong argument to support her vision of the problem of women and men’s talkativeness. While discussing the importance of gender differences to influence the males and females’ talks, Tannen chooses to focus on the causes for revealing numbers traditionally presented in the scholarly literature.

The author claims that the concentration on counting words cannot provide researchers with the appropriate results. It is important to know when and why women and men speak more.

This information is necessary to conclude about the connection between the concepts of gender and language. As a result, Tannen’s position can be discussed as correlated in a way with the idea stated in the article’s first paragraph according to which women and men talk equally.

Works Cited

Speer, Susan. Gender Talk: Feminism, Discourse and Conversation Analysis. USA: Psychology Press, 2005. Print.

Tannen, Deborah. 2007. Web.

Tannen, Deborah, and James Alatis. Linguistics, Language, and the Real World: Discourse and Beyond. USA: Georgetown University Press, 2003. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Deborah Tannen’s Opinion on Complicated Relations between the Concepts of Gender and Talkativeness'. 21 May.

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