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I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults Paperback – May 28, 2002


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Frequently Bought Together

I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults + You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation + You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation
Price for all three: $33.50

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345407520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345407528
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for You Just Don't Understand

"Tannen has a marvelous ear for the way real people express themselves and a scientist's command of the inner structure of speech and human relationships."
—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

"Goes a long way toward explaining why perfectly wonderful men and women behave in ways that baffle their partners."
— Judy Mann, The Washington Post

"This book, written by a linguistics expert so you have to believe she knows what she's talking about could be the Rosetta Stone that deciphers the miscommunication between the sexes."
— Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle

"This book will help many put their problems of communication with the opposite sex in manageable perspective."
— Ruth Rose, The New York Times Book Review

"Deborah Tannen combines a novelist's ear for the way people speak with a rare power of original analysis. It is this that makes her an extraordinary sociolinguist, and... her book such a fascinating look at that crucial social cement, conversation."
— Oliver Sacks


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Why does talk in families so often go in circles, leaving us tied up in knots? In this illuminating book, Deborah Tannen, the linguist and and bestselling author of You Just Don't Understand and many other books, reveals why talking to family members is so often painful and problematic even when we're all adults. Searching for signs of acceptance and belonging, we find signs of disapproval and rejection. Why do the seeds of family love so often yield a harvest of criticism and judgment? In I Only Say This Because I Love You, Tannen shows how important it is, in family talk, to learn to separate word meanings, or messages, from heart meanings, or metamessages ? unstated but powerful meanings that come from the history of our relationships and the way things are said. Presenting real conversations from people's lives, Tannen reveals what is actually going on in family talk, including how family conversations must balance the longing for connection with the desire for control, as we struggle to be close without giving up our freedom.

This eye-opening book explains why grown women so often feel criticized by their mothers; and why mothers feel they can't open their mouths around their grown daughters; why growing up male or female, or as an older or younger sibling, results in different experiences of family that persist throughout our lives; and much, much more. By helping us to understand and redefine family talk, Tannen provides the tools to improve relationships with family members of every age.

More About the Author

Deborah Tannen is the acclaimed author of You Just Don't Understand, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years including eight months as #1; the ten-week New York Times bestseller You're Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation; I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs and Kids When You're All Adults, which won the Books for a Better Life Award; Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work; That's Not What I Meant!; and many other books. A professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, she has written for and been featured in newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. She appears frequently on TV and radio, including such shows as 20/20, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Colbert Report, Nightline, Today, Good Morning America, and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She is university professor and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, and has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University. She lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C., area.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I cannot express how much this book has helped me understand what's going on in my family. A lot of arguments in my family center around who said what, how they said it, and why they said it. And Tannen provides almost all of the tools necessary for us to even think about reconciling.
This really is an enlightening book. What it does do, is explain what goes on in a particular aspect of any family - she explains how family arguments and conversations work, why some things are said but other left unsaid, and provides some suggestions and advice for going back and fixing some of those misunderstandings. She provides a really comprehensive overview of whole family setups, organizations, and tons of possible situations.
She doesn't say "here's how to fix your problems - they shall all be solved". She can't - she's not your own psychologist. But there is so much information to work with, that for a majority of families this will definitely provide a really good and solid basis for reconciling, and even allowing family members to start talking to each other civily again.
Tannen has done tons of research, and provides many examples from all types of families throughout the whole book - grandparents, partners, families with children, families without children, cross-culture families, etc.. I do have to completely agree with another reader that the examples Tannen gives could have been plucked straight from my life. I found one line in particular that could actually explain away years of misunderstanding between two whole branches of my family, myself included. It's also a very fast read - I read it through in just a few days, and I'm a slow reader.
If anyone in your family is even remotely having difficulties talking to others in your family, you should buy this book. I can't tell you how much it's helped me already. Had to buy two more copies of the book for other family members to "borrow".
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is one I will reread over and over again. I wanted to highlight everything because the innumerous examples could have been plucked right out out of my own life.
Deborah Tannen explains so logically how linguistics can cause all types of mixed messages during an interaction with someone. Even when our intentions are good, it's now easy to see how we could be misinterpreted and how fights and long held grudges could be avoided or amended.
Because of this book, I now have an objective, aerial view of situations before they get out of hand with flying accusations. Deborah Tannen has given me insight into "enemy camp" and I realize now that someone I perceive as my enemy, may not be after all. That's a huge relief and a sure recipe for less painful drama in my life.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marsha A. Hynes on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This makes a mother stop and isten to herself when she is talking to her adult daughter. Why does the daughter not like to visit her? Well, in this book may be the answer, the way the mother talks to her grown daughter. The book should go both ways in helping the daughter learn how to talk to her mother, who is wanting a close relationship to her grown daughter now. This is a very good book, one that can help people grow in their communications with each other.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader on June 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have used the information in this book to enhance my communication and relationship skills with my family and others I work with. I believe the book is worth the time reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Sullivan on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be helpful in understanding some of the language that goes on between my family, to know we are not the only ones out there with problems in relating to each other.
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