Deborah Tannen on gendered speech, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and you

Manage episode 164855462 series 118651
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To understand the 2012 election, you had to ask a political scientist. To understand the 2016 election, you need to call a linguist.At least, I did. Deborah Tannen is a Georgetown University linguist who's done pioneering work in how men and women's communication styles differ. Her book You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as number one. But I got to know her earlier this year, as part of a reporting project to understand Hillary Clinton's leadership style, and the ways in which it's lost — and even a liability — on the campaign trail.Tannen's work has helped me understand not just Clinton and Trump's communication styles, but my own — her analysis of how men and women communication at home, and in the workplace, is useful no matter who you are. This episode, more than any other I've done, is full of practical insight into situations we all face daily. Among our topics:-How she became a linguist-Why everyone in her doctoral program was recording the conversations at dinner parties-The ways in which linguistics can solve the same problems as psychology-How cultural attitudes about interruptions and silence lead to miscommunication and frustration (I found this one *very* relevant)-The debate over African-American Vernacular English, and the crucial research that both powered it, and has been forgotten about it -The components of what she calls “conversational style” and how they vary depending on who you are-How gender roles can create conflict within relationships, even just in end-of-the-day check-ins with your partner-Why women are perceived to speak more than men, even when they're speaking less-How gendered forms of communication have changed perceptions of Hillary Clinton-Why she tries to never use the word "sexism" when discussing evaluations of Clinton and other female politicians-How expectations of good leadership are caught up in gendered ideas of what leaders look and sound likeAnd so, so much more. Enjoy!

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