Brief Commentary on How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently, by Deborah Tannen

583 Words Jan 25th, 2018 2 Pages
Men and women in particular express themselves in drastically different ways. In “How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently,” Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, experiments with the causes of classroom dynamics. Tannen opens her discussion by exploring the beginning stages of learning communication skills and then fast forwards to adulthood. Tannen uses research from sociologists and anthropologists such as Lever, Goodwin, and Eder as well as insight from Walter Ong to add credibility and to create a foundation for her explanation of the causes of classroom dynamics. Tannen expands on this research from cultural and behavioral professionals by creating an experiment in her own classroom to demonstrate that communication skills learned and cemented in younger years, combined with a “ritual opposition” setting, produce classroom dynamics.
Anthropologists and sociologists agree that people commonly learn communication skills in younger years specifically in “sex-separate peer groups” (Tannen 345). Young girls are typically more reserved and generally confide their feelings and ideas in smaller groups with close friends. On the contrary, boys enjoy competing for attention in larger groups. The article mentions, “boys are expected to use language to seize center stage: by exhibiting their skill, displaying their knowledge, and challenging and resisting challenges” (Tannen…
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