Do men and women speak the same language?
Do men and women speak the same language? Can they ever really communicate? These questions are not new, but since the early 1990s there has been a new surge of interest in them. Countless self-help and popular psychology books have been written portraying men and women as alien beings, and conversation between them as a catalogue of misunderstandings. The most successful exponents of this formula, such as Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand, and John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, have topped the bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic. Advice on how to bridge the communication gulf between the sexes has grown into a flourishing multimedia industry. Readers who prefer something a little harder-edged can turn to a genre of popular science books with titles such as Brain Sex, Sex on the Brain, The Essential Difference, and Why Men Don't Iron. The growth of call centres is part of a larger trend in economically advanced societies.
Related: Gender and communication
• Language and gender
• Gender Studies