Do Men and Women Speak Different Languages? Robert Bly and Deborah Tannen say there is a large difference in the way men and women communicate. In the article, “Where are Men and Women Today?” Bly and Tannen describe women as rapport-talkers. Rapport-talk is using language as a way of establishing connections and relationships with others. They continue by stating that men use report-talk to communicate. It means that they attempt to preserve independence and maintain status in their communication.
Classifying men and women in these two categories helps to explain their behavior in talking with others. Since women are trying to establish relationships, they tend to speak more privately. They isolate themselves and the person they are talking with in hopes of establishing a rapport with them. Men are considered just the opposite. Because of their need for independence and recognition, they speak more publicly. Therefore, men and women can be further classified into two groups, private (women) and public (men) speakers.
The topics that each sex discusses are also important. Women are said to talk about emotions or other areas that are considered private to most people. They tend to discuss relationships, love, and other sentimental issues. Men, however, are said to talk about broader subjects. They discuss such topics as sports, the news, and other current events. By categorizing men and women like this, it makes it easier to understand how they communicate in our society.
Learning how men and women communicate helps us to develop an understanding of their role in society. With women, it would appear that they do not seem to function well in mass society. They are sometimes unable to relate their ideas or thoughts to a large number of people. Women tend to talk one-on-one with people. This is good for the individual being addressed because questions can be asked and the listener can interpret what type of wom...
Bly, Robert, and Deborah Tannen. “Where are Men and Women Today?” New Age Journal January/February (1992):148-55.