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Encyclopedia > Deborah Tannen
Deborah Tannen
Deborah Tannen

Deborah Frances Tannen (born June 7, 1945) is an American professor of sociolinguistics at Georgetown University. Although she has lectured worldwide in her field, and written or edited numerous academic publications on linguistics and interpersonal communication, she is best known for her general-audience books on interpersonal communication and public discourse. She became well-known in the United States after her book You Just Don't Understand was published in 1990. It was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, was for eight months the number one best seller, and was subsequently translated into 29 other languages and on best-seller lists in six other nations. She has since made numerous appearances on major television and radio shows as an expert on interpersonal communication, and has had material published in many major newspapers and magazines. Image File history File linksMetadata Deborah_Tannen. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Deborah_Tannen. ... June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... 1945 (MCMVL) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... A professor giving a lecture The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used. ... Georgetown University is a private university in the United States, located in Georgetown, a neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is both the oldest Roman Catholic and oldest Jesuit university in the United States, having been founded on January 23, 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of human language, and someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. ... Interpersonal communication refers to communication with another person. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ...

She is the author of several popular books about the way people in social situations talk to each other. By studying these interactions, she attempts to help others to understand them and so get along better in relationships.

Tannen, however, is primarily a linguist, and thus her works arguably have more relevance to the furthering of a theoretical understanding of talk and social interaction than they do to the practical improvement of day-to-day relationships.

She attended Binghamton University as an undergraduate, then continued to earn her Ph.D. in Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 1979. Binghamton University, also known as the State University of New York at Binghamton, is a public university located in Vestal, New York. ... The University of California, Berkeley (also known as Cal, UC Berkeley, UCB, or simply Berkeley) is a prestigious, public, coeducational university situated in the foothills of Berkeley, California to the east of San Francisco Bay, overlooking the Golden Gate and its bridge. ...


  • Lilika Nakos (Twayne World Authors Series, G. K. Hall, 1983)
  • Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk Among Friends (1984; Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • That's Not What I Meant! How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Your Relations with Others (Ballantine, 1986, ISBN 0-345-34090-0, ISBN 0-345-34090-6; Ballantine, 1992, ISBN 0-345-37972-1)
  • Talking Voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery in conversational discourse (Cambridge University Press, 1989, hardcover ISBN 0-521-37001-9, paperback ISBN 0-521-37900-8)
  • You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation (William Morrow, 1990, ISBN 0688078222; Quill, 2001, ISBN 0-06-095962-2)
  • Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work (William Morrow, 1994, ISBN 0688112439; ISBN 0-380-71783-2)
  • The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words (Ballantine, 1999, ISBN 0-345-40751-1, ISBN 0-345-40751-2)
  • I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults (Ballantine, 2002, ISBN 0-345-40752-0)
  • You're Wearing That?: Mothers and Daughters in Conversation (Random House, 2006, ISBN 1-4000-6258-6)


  • "Biography", Web Page of Deborah Tannen, Georgetown University. (Retrieved September 6, 2006)

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Deborah Tannen
  • Tannen's home page at Georgetown University
  • Listen to Deborah Tannen discuss communication on the Open Grove



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