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The following series of lectures draws on linguistics, or the scientific study of language, to show the many ways in which language has a profound effect upon human relationships. These lectures address the various aspects and implications of what


Professor Tannen calls 'conversational style.' It also looks at the dynamics of specific situations such as the workplace and classroom where the role of conversational style is of particular importance. A person's conversational style includes far more than the words that he or she speaks. Each conversation is composed of contextual cues, unspoken messages, body language, and the rhythms of speech. For the most part, people communicate without a conscious focus on the subtleties of language. Through this course, the complexities of language, and all that language entails, will become more apparent.


A better understanding of language, of how we communicate, and of how our ways of communicating differ based on who we are talking to should lead not only to a better understanding of ourselves and of those with whom we have relationships, but should also lead to improved communication. Our language shapes our lives in numerous, complex ways. These lectures help us to make sense of our language and will help to improve our relationships with friends, spouses, and coworkers.

[KH Audio] Communication Matters II: That's Not What I Meant!

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