Deborah Tannen


  • report/rapport
  • interruptions and overlapping
  • high involvement and high considerateness
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Report vs. rapport

  • Men = report, women = rapport


  • Talk too much
  • Speak in private contexts
  • Build relations
  • Overlap
  • Speak symmetrically


  • Get more air time
  • Speak in public
  • Negotiate status/avoid failure
  • Speak one at a time
  • Speak asymmetrically
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Interruptions and Overlapping

  • Interruption is not the same as merely making a sound while another is speaking
  • Such a sound can be supportive and affirming, which Tannen calls co-operative overlap
  • It can also be an attempt to take control of the conversation - an interruption or competitive overlap
  • Claiming/keeping turns
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High involvement and high considerateness

  • High-involvement speakers are concerned to show enthusiastic suppot (even if this means simultaneous speech)
  • High-considerateness speakes are more concerned to be considerate of others
  • They choose not to impose on the conversation as a whole or on specific comments of another speaker
  • High-involvement speakers are ready to be overlapped because they will yield to an intrusion on the conversation if they feel like it...
  • ...and put off responding or ignore it completely if they do not wish to give way
  • In the British House of Commons, there is a formal procedure for this, whereby a speaker requests permission to take the turn ("will you give way?")...
  • ...and the speaker who has the floor will often do so ("I will give way"), on the understanding that the intervention is temporary...
  • ...and that when the contribution is made, the original speaker will have the floor again
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