Free Term Paper On The Talk Of The Sandbox (Analysis)
The Washington Post published Deborah Tannen’s "The Talk of the Sandbox; How Johnny and Suzy's Playground Chatter Prepares Them for Life at the Office" in December 1994. This article encompasses boys’ and girls’ behavior and their distinguishable differences regardless of the similarity of the situations. Tannen has been able to successfully demonstrate the varying communication behaviors of boys and girls with the inclusion of various real-life scenarios. She has done so to make the readers understand these differences by comparing and contrasting male and female speaking styles.
At the beginning of the article, Tannen introduces readers with Bob Hoover of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hoover tells the author about his observations of the differing behavior of girls and boys when the two genders play softball. He remarked that unlike talented boys who like to lead other boys, skilled girl players do not go around leading their teammates to demonstrate their superiority. Girls like giving their teammates opportunities to show off their unique talents. In contrast, male athletes worry about their image and individual performance. In addition, girls are likely to show a rather apologetic behavior after committing mistakes even if they do not think they are mistaken. On the other hand, apology is not a boy’s thing even if he knows his performance let down the team.
After interviewing Hoover, Tannen conducted a similar study by observing male and female workers at workplace. She then compared her observations with that of Hoover’s observations. The results were similar to a large extent. Just like the female athletes, females working at the office were not interested in exhibiting authority over their colleagues or juniors. They treated everyone as equals. In contrast, men seemed to demonstrate their authoritative nature not feeling it important to behave in an over-polite manner with others. Just like in the playing field, men also did not want to accept their mistakes evading any blames. Conversely, women seemed to apologize for the smallest mistakes at the workplace.
Tannen also includes observations of Amy Sheldon, a linguist, who tells the author how matters are resolved differently by preschool girls and boys. Boys tend to battle out straightforwardly making declarations about their possessions. They usually use physical power to show their authority. Unlike boys, girls get involved in complicated and difficult debates over possession of toys. All the above mentioned scenarios reveal the different approaches and communication style of males and females.
However, Tannen also highlights the fact that not “all women and all men, or all boys and girls, behave any one way. Many factors influence our styles, including regional and ethnic backgrounds, family experience and individual personality” (Tannen). Still, she puts great emphasis on gender being a major factor in affecting peoples’ communication styles. She recommends her readers to realize this fact and understand the influence of gender over an individual’s way of thinking and talking. To cut a long story short, this informative article helps the readers understand and comprehend the customized nature of communication of men and women. In fact, such an understanding grants an individual the flexibility of judging and reflecting on numerous approaches if they do not like the reaction of the other person. Such an insight may profoundly help people who pass up arguments. Thus, the author beautifully describes that “there is no one way of talking that will always work best” (Tannen).