Originally broadcast: September 11, 2016
Sixteen years ago, Deborah Tannen published the bestselling You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, a book that ushered in a very public face to a prolific scholarly career. Her work on gender and communication has expanded to focus on romantic and work life, relations between mothers and daughters, siblings, and the role of argument in talking, all through the lens of gender. On this episode of Why? we look at her work over the last couple of decades and explore what it can tell us about our lives, our relationships, and our politics.
Deborah Tannen is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships. She is best known as the author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 31 languages. Her most recent book, You Were Always Mom’s Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives, also a New York Times best seller, received a Books for a Better Life Award and was featured on 20/20 and NPR’s Morning Edition.
Among her other books, You’re Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation spent ten weeks on the New York Times best seller list; Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work was a New York Times Business best seller; The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words received the Common Ground Book Award; and I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You’re All Adults received a Books for a Better Life Award.
The text of this episode’s monologue can be found here at our blog, PQED.
Deborah Tannen’s website can be found at: www.deborahtannen.com