Colloquium: Deborah Tannen

Event Date: 

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 3:30pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 3605

Speaker: Deborah Tannen (Georgetown University)

Topic: The Language of Friendship: The Role of Talk in an Understudied Relationship

Reception: All are invited to a reception following the talk

The Language of Friendship: 

The Role of Talk in an Understudied Relationship


Deborah Tannen

Georgetown University


Deborah Tannen will talk about her new book, You're the Only One I Can Tell.  She will explore the role of talk among friends, with particular focus on women's friendships and how they compare to men's. Topics include the power and liabilities of talk about troubles; gossip and secrets; fear of being left out--or getting kicked out; the complex interplay of sameness and difference; complications and confusions that can arise among friends of different (or the same) regional, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds; and how communicating over social media can amplify both the gifts and the risks that affect friendships. 


Deborah Tannen is university professor and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. She is a discourse analyst interested in how people use language in everyday conversation to create meaning and negotiate relationships. Her over 100 articles and twenty-four books (12 authored, 13 edited or co-edited) have addressed such topics as cross-cultural communication, spoken and written language, family discourse, gender and language, and the relationship between everyday conversation and literary discourse. Her books include Talking Voice: Repetition, Dialogue and Imagery in Conversational Discourse (Cambridge), Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk Among Friends (Oxford), and You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation (HarperCollins), which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. She is associate editor of Language in Society and is on the editorial boards of numerous other journals and book series.