AQA English Language B: Gender Theorists

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  • Created by: Joshua
  • Created on: 16-05-10 09:50

Prof Deborah Tannen: Difference theory

Difference theorist

Difference theory: Men and Women just talk differently

Explores 6 contrasts:


Status-------------------- vs--------------Support

Independence--------- vs-------------- Intimacy

Advice-------------------- vs------------- Understanding

Information-------------- vs------------- Feeling

Order---------------------- vs--------------Proposal

Conflict------------------- vs--------------Compromise

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Status Vs Support

  • Men: See conversation as competitive: seek to achive the upper hand and prevent other from dominating them
  • Women: Conversation is a means to gain confirmation and support for their ideas
  • Men: see the world as a place where people try to gain status and keep it.
  • Women: see the world as "a network network of connections seeking support and consensus
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Independence vs Intimacy

Independence vs Intimacy

  • Women: often think in terms of closeness and support and often struggle to preserve intimacy
  • Men: concerned with status, tend to focus more on Independence. These traits can lead to women and men to starkly different views on the same situation.

Example: A woman would check with her husband before inviting a guest to stay- she likes telling her friends she has to check with him. However the man wouldn't necessarily check with his wife

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Advice vs Understanding

  • Men: "a complaint is a challenge to find a solution"
  • Women: When I woman says she is ill (just wanting sympathy) a man will offer to ring a doctor
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Information vs feeling

  • Men: A young man will make a brief phone call
  • Women: wish to talk about her feelings
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Orders vs Proposals

  • Women: make polite suggestions "let's" "why don't we"
  • Men: order "We'll go to the red lion"
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Conflict vs Compromise

  • Women: "In trying to prevent a fight some women refuse to oppose the will of others openly" But sometimes it is far more effective for a woman assert herself , even at the risk of conflict.
  • Men: The situation is easily observed at work- a situation where a management decision seems unattractive- men will often resist vocally (in a meeting)
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Zee Hicks


very good and detailed, but only focuses on Tannen.

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