Deborah Tannen



Conversational Style:
Analyzing Talk Among Friends

Revised edition

Oxford University Press, 2005.

This revised edition of Deborah Tannen's first discourse analysis book, Conversational Style - originally published in 1984‑‑presents an approach to analyzing conversation that later became the hallmark and foundation of her extensive body of work in discourse analysis, including the monograph Talking Voices and her many general-audience books.

Analyzing the discourse of six speakers over the course of a two‑and‑a‑half hour Thanksgiving dinner conversation, Tannen identifies the linguistic features that make up the speakers' conversational styles.  In particular, she shows that the three speakers of New York Jewish background use linguistic strategies that make up what she calls a 'high‑involvement style' that have a positive effect when used with others who share the style, but a negative effect with those whose styles differ.  (For example, talking-along to show enthusiasm is misinterpreted as interruption.)  This revised edition includes a new preface and an afterword in which Tannen discusses the book's place in the evolution of her work.

Written in accessible, non‑technical language, this book will appeal to scholars and students in a range of fields including linguistics, anthropology, communication, sociology, and psychology, as well as general readers fascinated by Tannen's popular work. This book is an ideal text for use in introductory classes in linguistics and discourse analysis. 

Click here for audio clips corresponding with excerpts analyzed in the book


"By far the most interesting and accessible‑‑and fun!‑‑introduction to conversational style that I know of. Students love it, and I use it as a required textbook whenever I teach sociolinguistics."
‑‑Doug Biber, Northern Arizona University

"Interesting and valuable for both laypersons and students."‑‑Language

"A contribution not only for the general reader but for any researcher or student interested in conversation."‑‑Language and Society




Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk Among Friends.



© 2009 Deborah Tannen