Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Duels and Duets
Why Men and Women Talk So Differently

$32.95 (G)

  • Date Published: September 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521887137

$ 32.95 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Why do men and women talk so differently? And how do these differences interfere with communication between the sexes? In search of an answer to these and other questions, John Locke takes the reader on a fascinating journey, from human evolution through ancient history to the present, revealing why men speak as they do when attempting to impress or seduce women, and why women adopt a very different way of talking when bonding with each other, or discussing rivals. When men talk to men, Locke argues, they frequently engage in a type of 'dueling', locking verbal horns with their rivals in a way that enables them to compete for the things they need, mainly status and sex. By contrast, much of women's talk sounds more like a verbal 'duet', a harmonious way of achieving their goals by sharing intimate thoughts and feelings in private.

    • Reveals everything you wanted to know about sex differences in human interaction but were afraid to ask
    • Argues that the differences that cause men and women to talk differently enable them to work together in their everyday lives
    • Demonstrates that the differences in the way men and women speak are supported by biology not culture
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    Endorsements: “The physicist Ernest Rutherford supposedly commented that all science was “either physics or stamp collecting." If that is true, then John Locke’s book represents a rejection of stamp collecting and an embrace of physics, as applied to questions about the history of human language. He uses data on sex and gender differences in language use to formulate a theory about the origins of language in the biological challenges faced by males and females during the period that language, and humanness itself, emerged. In the process, though, he also collects and conveys an engaging and wide-ranging array of facts and stories about language, from biologists, archeologists, anthropologists, historians, and linguists, ensuring his reader has the aesthetic experience of the stamp collector together with the intellectual experience of the physicist.” --Catherine Snow, Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    “ ... an intriguing journey down the often uneven cobblestone road that is communication between the sexes ... It certainly merits space on the bookshelf of anyone interested in how men and women contrast and compliment each other on the verbal landscape.” --Richard G. Bribiescas, Professor & Chair, Yale University, Department of Anthropology

    “Accessible and entertaining, speech expert John Locke's book explores a provocative hypothesis: that well-known differences in men and women's speech patterns have a deep-rooted biological basis, related to sex differences in evolved mating strategies and preferences. Duels and Duets is sure to be controversial, but is so packed with intriguing facts and wry historical observations that it cannot be ignored.” --W. Tecumseh Fitch, University of Vienna

    "An exhilarating race through some of the issues closest to our hearts – why we speak and tell stories, and how there come to be sex differences in style." --Robin Dunbar, Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford

    “Showing his usual delinquency with respect to disciplinary boundaries, Locke provides an illuminating synthesis and extension of a fragmented literature.” --Dr David Good, King's College Cambridge

    “With the lightest of touches underpinned by enormous scholarship this book will nudge those few remaining diehards into taking seriously biologically based sex-differences in language.” --Dr Tom Dickins, Reader in Evolutionary Psychology, University of East London

    “Locke is a true Renaissance man, weaving disparate sources of evidence into a brilliant, pithy, and thoroughly thought-provoking pageturner.” --Anne van Kleeck, PhD, Professor and Callier Research Scholar, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521887137
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 224 x 146 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Speech, sex, and gender
    2. Duels
    3. Bards, heroes, Romeos, and clowns
    4. Why do men duel?
    5. Duets
    6. Complicity
    7. Why do women duet?
    8. Collaboration in language and in life.

  • Author

    John L. Locke, City University of New York
    John L. Locke is currently Professor of Linguistics at Lehman College, City University of New York. His articles have appeared in a broad range of journals, including the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Evolution and Human Behavior, Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Language Sciences. He has published over a hundred articles, chapters and books. His books include The De-Voicing of Society (1998) and Eavesdropping: An Intimate History (2010).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.