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"His Politeness is Her Powerlessness"

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Mary Joy Agcaoili

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of "His Politeness is Her Powerlessness"

COPY from mind map
Rhetorical Triangle
In Tannen's non-fiction book, "His Politeness is Her Powerlessness" (1990; 2001), she claims that different cultures view indirectness differently. the author informs that being indirect does not mean being powerless by giving examples from different cultures. Tannen's purpose is to inform so that its clear that women are not lower than men because they are verbally similar. Tannen establishes a serious tone for educated people for the text to be understandable.
Tannen's "His Politeness is Her Powerlessness" informs gender norms about talking in a direct or indirect way.
"His Politeness is Her Powerlessness"
by Deborah Tannen
"If a linguistic strategy is used by a woman, it is seen as powerless; if it is done by a man, it is seen as powerfull." (Paragraph 1)
Tannen's Claim #2
About the Author
PhD in Linguistics from University of California, Berkeley
Writes about communication in a relationship
Author of the best selling books for 4 years.
"But far more cultures in the world use elaborate systems of indirectness than value directness." (Paragraph 8)
Tannen's Claim #1
another title
The women are judged as powerless because of their indirectness.
"The reason offered for this power: The women doesn't feel she has a right to ask directly." (Paragraph 3)
Evidence: The Japanese and Madagascar culture prefer indirectness over directness.
"Japanese culture has developed indirectness to a fine art." (Paragraph 7)
"For them, indirectness, like the men who use it, has high status." (Paragraph 9)
Purpose: inform how different cultures view direct and indirectness.

Main Idea: women are seen lower even if men and women talk the same.
Speaker: Deborah Tannen
To inform
Tone: serious
gender norms about talking
Genre: non-fiction
Audience: educated
"Only modern Western societies place a priority on direct communication, and even for us it is more a value than a practice." (Paragraph 8)
Full transcript