Breaking the Code: Understanding the Dynamics of Gendered Communication through Report Talk and Rapport Talk

Xiaotong Xi, Jullie Gu, Yaruo Tang, Scarlet Gu

This research explores Tannen’s original idea of report and rapport talk on gendered communication under a more modern context by investigating the conversational styles of college students aged 18-25. While previous research conducted by Tannen mainly utilized qualitative observational case studies, this research gathered quantitative data on gendered patterns in a conversational style by conducting surveys on 72 participants and 3 observational studies with detailed conversational data recorded. The research findings from both categories indicate that women’s conversational styles approach rapport talk more frequently by communicating with a tentative communication style and empathetic tone and topics surrounding personal experience. On the other hand, men approach report talk by using an assertive communication style, with conversation topics surrounding their own expertise and factual information.

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