Deborah Tannen
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"Deborah Frances Tannen" is an United States/American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences following a term in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

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Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. To survive in the world, we have to act in concert with others, but to survive as ourselves, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel, we have to act alone.

[T]he seeds of [the Argument Culture] can be found our classrooms, where a teacher will introduce an article or an idea . . . setting up debates where people learn not to listen to each other because they're so busy trying to win the debate.

The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

Each person's life is lived as a series of conversations.

When people realize that in the long run you may be turning off the audiences more, even though they will look temporarily--in the end they turn away, we really need to develop other metaphors and not talk about two sides, but talk about all sides.

Life is a matter of dealing with other people, in little matters and cataclysmic ones, and that means a series of conversations.

It's our tendency to approach every problem as if it were a fight between two sides. We see it in headlines that are always using metaphors for war. It's a general atmosphere of animosity and contention that has taken over our public discourse.

We all know we are unique individuals, but we tend to see others as representatives of groups.