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Duels and duets : why men and women talk so differently /

"Why do men and women talk so differently? And how do these differences interfere with communication between the sexes? In search of an answer to these and other questions, John Locke takes the reader on a fascinating journey, from human evolution through ancient history to the present, revealing wh...

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Main Author: Locke, John L.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011
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Review by Choice Review

The controversial premise of this book: the difference in men's and women's talk originates in the "'sexed' expression of ancient biological dispositions." Locke (linguistics, CUNY) uses wide-ranging examples and many authorities to track the evolutionary path from ancestral men and women to the present. Testosterone has led men to duel not only with swords but also with words; the claim is that no women have ever dueled. Oxytocin accounts for the link between the female voice and the hormones associated with it, thus the duetting, or "honest exchange of emotion and intimate experience." Locke argues that whereas duetting regulates social and moral behavior, "dueling provides information about the ability of men to compete with other men, to mate with women." This text counters Deborah Tannen's That's Not What I Meant (1986) and John Gray's Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992), which argue that men and women should have the same speaking style. Rather, Locke concludes, men and women should have different speaking styles, for each satisfies specific needs and together they "facilitate effective collaboration." Of interest in psychology, linguistics, and communication. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. T. B. Dykeman formerly, Fairfield University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Some readers may ask why, after the publication of such popular books as Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand (1990) and John Gray's Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (1990), we need another book on this topic. Because it's been a generation since those came out. Locke (linguistics, Lehmann Coll., CUNY; Eavesdropping: An Intimate History) acknowledges the contributions of these earlier works while pointing out that they provided "no formal account of the reasons why men and women use language differently in the first place." He rejects explanations of men's and women's different speech patterns based on learning and culture, preferring evolutionary need as the basis for why men verbally spar while women harmonize. VERDICT Specialists in the field may be more willing to tackle this scholarly treatment than general readers, who might find more useful, everyday ideas about how to be verbally facile (with any gender) in Daniel Menaker's A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation.-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.