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Deborah Tannen Theories of Communication Review Assignment (Book Review Sample)


In this essay it wasa expected that one will include not only a general discussion of the chapter being explored.
additionally info were: You will also need to include direct quotations and evidence from not only Tannen's book, but also from at least one of the two articles we read on communication and technology. If you wish to further research how technology affects communication, then you may incorporate one more credible online source, but only after you have “okayed” the source with me.

Deborah Tannen Theories of Communication
People often convey meaning not only through verbal communication but also through various aspect of non-verbal communication.. In particular, two people in a conversation will understand each other when they use both verbal and non-verbal communication. Unfortunately, linguistic does not take into account the non-verbal component of communication, however; Tannen has offered a broad theoretical background of non-verbal using the concept of conversational styles. On this note, this paper explores the validity of her theories of communication in chapter two of her book, primarily aiming to demonstrate how communication is changing through the use of technology. Arguably, Tannen theories on how conversation work is arguably valid under normal conversation, nevertheless with recent advancement in communication technology, much of her arguments are invalid.
In the chapter two of her book, That’s Not What I Meant! Debolar Tannen explore the conversation signals that are not directly said, but gives an idea of what a person is implying (Tannen, 30).Tannen refers this indirectness in communication as Meta-messages and argues that they are the basics of communication. In other words, Tannen claim is that every word that a person says comes not only with the message but also with other messages that tell the listener how to interpret that message. Precisely, when two people are talking to one another, very little of what they are saying is important when it comes to information expressed by words. Markedly, the talk may be important, however, according to Tannen, “information conveyed by the meaning of words is the message” (Tannen 29). In other words, the metalanguage conveys the stronger message; the feelings of the other person and personal relationship with him or her. Thus, people do not react to the words said, but to the meta-messages. In the second chapter, Tannen argues although a person can respond to the metalanguage conveyed in words, it is often hard to talk about it because the meaning of the words is said to affect the receiver of the message.
However, Tannen gives several reasons a person cannot comprehend the meta-messages and focus on the literal information in words. She explains this using the concept of involvement and independence. Precisely, she shows that human beings need to be close to each other to have a sense of community, but sometimes they keep distance to preserve their sense of independence. For an individual to understand the meaning of the message there needs to be a sense of involvement to the person whom the message is directed. However, Tannen notes that although “we need others other people to survive, (but), we also want to survive as an individual” (Tannen 33). Essentially, this means that when two people are communicating with each other, the meta-messages may not be taken as it is meant to by the recipient. Thus, the message directed to an individual can have different meaning depending on the need to be connected with the addresser or to be left alone.
Notwithstanding the relative value that human being tries to place on involvement and independence, there is always a need to balance both independence and involvement. According to Tannen, this phenomenon puts one in a double bind. She claims that
“Anything we say to show we're involved with others is in itself a threat to our (and their) individuality, and anything we say to show we're keeping our distance from others is in itself a threat to our (and their) need for involvement” (Tannen 33).
In this statement, Tannen argument is that no matter how a person wants to receive the literal information of the message, there is always a conflicting need to dig up the meta-message in that specific message. Essentially, this means that for communication to be complete there must be both the need to be involved and be independent. Accordingly, because of this ‘double bind' Tannen postulates that communication can never be perfect. Moreover, a contrast between genders is given in this chapter; men do not have a strong bond to others compared to women; therefore, they are more involved, which strengthen their relationship. Nonetheless, this could also explain the reason women will not have a lasting relationship because their communication messages contain meta-messages.
Tannen theoretical argument on conversation style is arguably valid under normal conversation. Not only does the accurate message counts, but also the metalanguage that conveys the communicator's relationship. However, the recent technological advancement has changed the way people communicate and hence the conversation style stipulated by Tannen. Today, technology has become an integral part of the way people communicate with one after the other device taking the place of face-to-face communication. Tannen theory of communication suggests that communication always involves meta-messages, but the use of technological tools eliminates this assumption. For instance, when one text the other person, the information conveyed is often the verbal message. According to Irvine (np) all the elements that usually depict the meta-messages including the facial expressions, body languages, and a person’s tone of voice , all these “cues ( are lost) when you can't see or hear someone, or when you're distracted, even in person, by a gadget” (Irvine np). According to Tannen, the metalanguage conveys the stronger message, but with technological devices, the message may not fully reach the receiver as the sender anticipated. With technology, communication becomes weaker, and children and adults “struggle to understand emotion, create strong relationships or become more dependent on others” ( HYPERLINK "/author/23114/Chandra-Johnson.html" Johnso np).
Tannen other concept is that communication is never perfect, even when an individual wants to remain independent or socially involved, Tannen claims that an individual will often find himself trying to honor the two conflicting needs. He claims, that “can’t step out of the circle. If we try to withdraw by not communicating, we hit the force field of our need for involvement and are hurled back in” (Tannen 33). In essence, the concept changes when a technology device is embedded into a conversation between two individuals. For instance, a person’s need to communicate is not influenced by both social involvement and individual, and there would be no conflict between the two as Tannen postulates.
Despite these contradiction generated by technology, some of Tannen argument remains to remain unchanged. For instance, she explores politeness as the considerateness of trying to find out what other people want before one says what they want. Tannen postulates that a person is motivated to be polite when they keep distance, give option the message and when one is friendly. If, for instance, a person offers to give the other person a drink, then politeness means that the other person will have to reject the offer. The rule of conversation according to Tannen is that the person offering a drink will have to insist, and “not having to follow the more formal rule sends a metamessage” (Tannen 41). Essentially, technological advances do not change th...
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