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Publisher's Summary

Why does talk in families so often go in circles, leaving us tied up in knots? Linguist Deborah Tannen 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 explores 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 audiobook 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. By helping us to understand and redefine family talk, Tannen provides the tools to improve relationships with family members of every age.

©2001 Deborah Tannen, All Rights Reserved; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved; SOUND IDEAS® Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Tannen's conversational style belies her academic roots and makes her sound like family." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 03-14-04

Sounded like she knew my family!

Great coversational tone kept me listening. Her examples were so realistic and the information for understanding them seemed on the mark. Also she provided ways to deal with the different messages for both sides of these common conversations amoung family members. Very entertaining and useful. I want to buy copies of this book for everyone in my family.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janis
  • Helena, MT, USA
  • 06-29-04

Insightful and realistic

This book has so many "right on the money" illustrations, I could swear she's been observing my life! A wealth of eye-opening information, the only drawback is not enough help to overcome the obstacles to which she enlightens us. Nevertheless, absolutely the right place to start in understanding what role speech plays in relationship-building (or healing). Thank you, Ms. Tannen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

very entertaining and enlightening.

She discusses a variety of conversational messages through a wealth of examples of specific conversations. She addresses what is said, what is actually meant, and how someone else may percieve what is said. The examples are taken from conversations within family relationships. It describes reasons why communication between family members and extended family members may become unintentionally dysfunctional. I plan to listen to this book again to rethink some of the insights she reveals.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great insights, well delivered

What did you love best about I Only Say This Because I Love You?

This is a reality-based exploration of how families talk to each other and how to talk in ways that produce more understanding and less pain. <br/>It is clearly stated with plenty of relevant examples of actual conversations.