You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen

Deborah Tannen is a sociolinguist at Georgetown University who studies “genderlects” — the speech and conversational patterns that exist both between women and men, and also within same-sex communications.  She wrote You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation in 1990, and it explores an interesting way to interpret several types of common (often, explicitly stereotypical) misunderstandings that take place between men and women.  Her idea is that generally in conversation women are trying (perhaps unconsciously) to facilitate intimacy, building relationships through social connectedness, whereas men are attempting (also perhaps unconsciously) to negotiate a social hierarchy.