Deborah Tannen

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“How male and female students use language differently” by Deborah Tannen Deborah Tannen is an American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Her research mainly focuses on the expression of interpersonal relationships in conversational interactions, including how these interactions are affected by gender and cultural differences. In her essay Tannen uses gender to reveal the differences between male and female conversational styles in classroom discussions. She formulates the theory that males naturally prefer and dominate contributions to these debate-like discussions while females incline to contribute to less hostile conversations. Tannen presents her argument effectively using simple vocabulary…show more content…
She tries to compare these accounts so that she can relate them to how male and female students participate contrarily in a class. However, even though these accounts are interesting, they are fallacious because they do not relate to the main idea proposed by Tannen in any context and even when connected to the thesis, they lack evidence to convince the audience. Rather these accounts distract the audience, side tracking them from the main issue. For example, when mentioning her colleague who allows his class to “tear apart” an article and then discuss how to make it better, Tannen assumes that such an exercise would appeal to male students more than female students whilst giving no hard evidence whether female students actually participated in the process or not. Similarly, when giving the account of her own class where she favours personal anecdotes and positive criticism, she assumes that female students prefer such environments simply on the basis that they participated in her class. However, Tannen gave no explanation warranted with facts of how the teaching approach relates to class participation among genders. Which again causes the audience to question her ability to convey her…show more content…
She broke her class into smaller groups, devising three ways to divide them, “one by the degree program they were in, one by gender, and one by conversational style.” Tannen deemed the results of the experiment a success because the students preferred smaller group discussions rather than a single large group and moreover students, many of them females who hardly participated in class discussions, regularly contributed to the groups. Claiming that males speak more assertively to gain advantage and prefer larger group discussions, Tannen uses the results of her experiment to substantiate her statement. One can consider the inclusion of the experiment as an effective strategy to convince the audience that males and females speak differently in various instances. However, even though the experiment is interesting, it is verbose and could have been concise. Furthermore, the results of the experiment barely contribute to her argument. The experiment focused more on the language and cultural differences as a variety of ethnicities comprised her class thus diminishing the underlying aspect of her argument. Additionally, while her motive was to monitor class participation differences she fixated on gender as the main reason for language differences in the classroom although the results did not indicate any such implication. Both genders preferred the idea of

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