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Forums > Social Chat > Language and Relationships

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I am a really big fan of how people talk, dialects, accents, patterns, cadences (actually I love to people watch). I do this because I coach linguistics to other actors, as how we speak and what we say is very important to how we are identified. I have people pay attention to how they speak and relate to others. This goes way beyond volume and diction.
Because of being in the rehearsal process of a new show right now, it is something I am working on presently.
There are exercises to test how you verbally relate to others, and I find it interesting how difficult these are and how our speech is really dictated by habit.

Questions, for example. Questions put all the work of a conversation on someone else. A real true conversation involves two or more people who will give information to push the conversation forward, and who also listen and care about what the other is saying. When you question someone, you are not adding information nor are you expressing a personal interest, but rather shirking the burden of adding information to someone else in a detached way.
And any question can be rephrased into a statement that offers something.
For example: "Where would you like to eat tonite?"
You give out no information and can seem to be rather off handed. This could be said, "Tell me what you would like to eat." This gives the other person the idea that you actually care what s/he thinks.
Now, take stock in how many questions you ask in a day. It is really incredible actually thinking about it.

There are also negations. When someone offers you information and you turn it down by disagreeing out right (no, on the other hand, never, except), changing the subject or saying things like "but", "Or".... It is fascinating how negative our conversations really are, and sad. Even negative things can be said with a positive spin, ironically.

And we figured out that "Um", "Erm", "Like" are actually fillers. We say them because in modern society we have the tendency to jump the gun and interupt. These phrases buy us time and let the other person know we are thinking. However, I know someone who never says these words. He is a very conciderate speaker but is initially thought to be mentally slow (not at all the case) because he takes the time to concider his words.

I am in the process now of attempting to alter my poor speech habits to see what happens, and because I have to for the show. I really do find this quite intriguing and thought some of you might want to take stock and see what your personal encounters are like in a day, which is why I am starting this seemingly pointless thread!

How do you relate? Or should I say, tell me how you relate!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Dom
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:Interesting thoughts, especially the questions thing, I don't see them as negative. Tone of voice has a huge part to play in how a statement of question is recieved as often our tone doesn't reflect our meaning. The 'Tell me...' thing actually really annoys me. Maybe because it's an Americanism

I studied Speech & Drama for years and had eloquition lessons. All this really taught me to really analyse how people talk and interact and I think it's really helped, espically in business. Everytime someone says an er or um I winch! See how bad my old MD and clent guys were in meetings and counting their ers and ums made me push for presentation skills workshops that they all had to take!

Actually listening to what you say yourself is a pretty interesting and rewarding thing to do. Thanks Pele!


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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road

Total posts: 15965
Posted:When I er or um it's because I can feel my voice wavering.

I used to be cronically shy (i'm not that far beyond that as you know Dom). But when i was younger this would make me stammer slightly. I discovered that if i started a sentence with er - or similar - then this didn't happen. Because the stammer used itself up on the initial sylable.

Didn't realise i was winding you up by being nervous Dom

My accent is a strange cookie though.

Many people say that they can't figure out where in the UK i'm from. I had a really strong accent when i left school with no T's and many other sounds flattened to the point of obscurity.

I realised that this would be unacceptable in future interactions so i sought to better myself.

I started listening to how others talked and picked up the best bits.

The draw back of this seems to be that i pick up other people's accents really easily and have to keep carefull watch on myself when talking to a person with a strong dialect (not wishing to offend anyone).

But on the plus side i can affect many varied accents. My favourite being my ability to demonstrate the various accents of southern Ireland . . .

but only when i'm drunk

[ 18. November 2002, 16:14: Message edited by: C@ntus ]


"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Kittytheravequeen


member
Location: down the bottom of the garden,...

Total posts: 285
Posted:oh my gosh ide never have thought of any of that in a million years, its made me really self consious of how i talk now.i keep stopping mid-sentnce to think

i'll draw you a picture ill draw it with a twist ill draw it with a razorblade ill draw it on my wrist and if i do it right a red fountain will appear washing away my sorrow washing away my fear

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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:I think this is an awesome post... i wonder if i can teach myself to stop saying swear words? I don't say um or er too much anymore... like i won't if i think about it an' stuff. What i have noticed, that's interesting, is when i speak Japanese (I'm a first yearstudent, so veyr beginer) i say the Japanese version of "um" when i can't think of teh words.... "aaaaah"
it sounds a little better to my ears, but i bet that's cause i'm american just a random thought.

Anpther note- i hate it when people phrase things "tell me" For some reason that makes me wantto not cooperate. Odd, isn;t it?

Lastnote- are psychologists trained to say tell me? cause it's annoying.


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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AardvarkOnAcid


member
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Total posts: 92
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Kyrian:
I think this is an awesome post... i wonder if i can teach myself to stop saying swear words? I don't say um or er too much anymore... like i won't if i think about it an' stuff. What i have noticed, that's interesting, is when i speak Japanese (I'm a first yearstudent, so veyr beginer) i say the Japanese version of "um" when i can't think of teh words.... "aaaaah"
it sounds a little better to my ears, but i bet that's cause i'm american just a random thought.

Anpther note- i hate it when people phrase things "tell me" For some reason that makes me wantto not cooperate. Odd, isn;t it?

Lastnote- are psychologists trained to say tell me? cause it's annoying.So... tell me, how does that make you feel?


Is that all life comes down to? To be lying face down with an overenthusiastic guy in pink pin-striped pants sitting on top of you and grunting? -- Random MusingsSex, Drugs and Psytrance.

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Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted:I have a strange relationship with questions (and that is a strange statement to make). On the one hand questions are very important to me. Questions are the way I show I am interested in a person and care about them "How are you? What did you do today?". I am a conversation starter and guider. If a friend who I am talking to doesn't take an equal part by asking questions of me, I feel they don't care about me. And I am liable to sulk, by refusing to ask any questions and therefore start the conversation. (I can be a pain in the arse). However this is all based around questions about how I, or the other person, feels. And about what they are experiencing in their lives.

At the same time, I find questions that are knowledge based often put me on the back foot. Questions like "where is that file?" or "what is twenty plus thirty?" put me on the back foot. Even when I know the answer, straight out verbal questions can throw me.

I have been in situations at work where the person I work with uses questions in a very aggressive manner. Breaking my concentration when I am working on something else, and expecting immediate answers. Sudden subject changes that begin with a question. It requires you to stay in a state of hyper-alertness, which is quite exhausting.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Nice Dom. Did you teach the course?

That is really interesting Rozi. I have never thought of it that way, but it is very true. Questions break up our thoughts because they make us stop to think of an appropriate answer, but answering a statement seems to add into the flow of conversation.

Cantus, I have the same issue with dialects and accents (dialect: a variation of speech within a language, usually geographical in basis. I speak English with an American dialect.
Accent: a variation of speech characterized by adopting a secondary language. I speak Spanish with an American accent.).
I agree that I am completely afraid that I will offend someone when I acclimate to the dialect/accent. It is actually quite terrifying. Next year I will be in Australia and this is truly a paranoia for me, as I know there is a negative stigma surrounding Americans anyway. I don't want anyone to think I am mocking them.

The "tell me" thing is funny. It seems like a demanding statement, and in America we tend to only have passive and aggressive, assertive has been lost somewhere in the wastelands. "Tell me" is actually a suggestive phrase on a normal basis, but people tend to interpret it as aggressive. There are many ways around the question thing, that was the example at the forefront of my mind. I agree with Dom that speech tone is everything, and once I am past the shy phase in meeting people, I am quite animated, so usually my personal tone is not misinterpreted!

The thing with language now is that it is lazy. If you look through historical writings, they took their time and really enjoyed a conversation. They languished in detail and description. Now there is no time so we like to cut to the chase, and questions are the fastest way to do that. Kind of sad really. I still really relish conversation, usually above all else with a person (I said usually! ). I admit though, being curious as I am and impatient, I ask alot of questions.

On a side note, I have been working on my diction for the show, as it is dreadful. Part of that is shyness, I lack initial volume so my consonants get lost along the way. The other is just the region I am from. We tend to talk quickly, thus slurring words, which makes me sound rather ill educated I think.
My friends have been helping me. I say "umm" quite a bit, and I have little things that I tend to say alot, catch phrases, but those are kind of ingrained in our being, which I think says alot about the speaker. I do this every year for this show, and marvel at it each time!

And yes you can break yourself of swearing, Kyrian, so long as you realize you are doing it. It requires more of a thought process when you speak and a constant effort. But what is wrong with swearing? Granted, I think there are more colorful ways to express emotion but curse words are valid words none the less. I think the stigma and taboo built around them is ridiculous. No where in the bible does it say, thou shalt not swear! I wouldn't worry about it too much!
Thanks for the responses. I am really enjoying it!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:The English language is by far one of the great wonders of the world. I dont know too much about other languages but from what I can grasp, English spoken is completly different English written.

When I look at how people speek where I am from, things seam easy, laid back. We/they didnt use large words, or complex speach. Colourfull metaphores, yes hehe

Questions could be answerd with one word and that word meant volumes.

Personally I think that people put too much stock in their speech. IE I use big words therefore I must be smart!

It is humorus when I see people use big words to make a mondain task seem more important, especially when I look back to helping a family friend brand cattle. There was hardly any talking done with the exception of friendly chatter.


Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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ShawnF


member
Location: Springfield, MA - USA

Total posts: 162
Posted:Well, I've been taking an interest in a lot of language stuff lately, so this is a really intesting thread.

Pele, I seem to have a lot of the same issues that you do. I tend to be fairly shy. Not only that, but live with just my Mom. I think when you are with someone a long time, you can instinctively understand a lot of stuff from familiarity and even body language, when someone else wouldn't. Not only that, but do programming, so not like I'm working retail..heh.

So I am pretty quiet and do tend to slur my words a bit. I've been trying to at least raise my volume a bit lately, but the problem is I usually realize a couple of words into the sentance that I need to talk louder, and that combined with someone suddenly realizing I'm talking to them means I usually have to repeat it..heh.

It is something that I'll have to put some effort into. The actual enunciation (uh-oh.. big word.. ) will be hard, but if I can work on volume and catch phrases (which according to people at work I seem to have a lot of), that should help.

As for the ummm... ahhh... errrr... aanoooo (I'm studying Japanese also), that is an interesting thing. Is difficult because you don't want to talk too fast, don't want to appear too slow, and yet don't want to have too many of those sounds in there. I guess it is a balancing act to try to keep things paced out well. I also find it interesting to see what other subcultures use. Like if you look at a lot of hip-hop stars, some use "know what I'm sayin" a lot in an unconcious way of talking.

As far as english goes, it sounds fine (not that I can objectively analyze english since it is so ingrained in my brain), but it really is pretty messed up as far as writing goes. It actually makes me a little mad sometimes to think about how hard it makes everything. After seeing other languages where everything is always spelled as it is said, it makes me wonder why I went through that agony to memorize all these spelling and still not always get it right?

I've been fussing with Esperanto, and it was amazing that I got about as far with it in a couple of months as I'd gone in years of studying French. Is pretty cool thing to check out for those of you out there that are openminded.

As far as breaking into trains of thought, I had to get used different ways that people are at work. Especially one of the other programers, gets very intense into what he is doing. You can say some stuff to him, and it can take a full minute or more before gets out of it enough to do a "Oh.. what were you saying?" At first it was disconcerting and you're not sure if you're being ignored, but it is just that he gets really focused and takes a while to get out of it.

I also do tend to get flustered if someone comes up to me and asks me a direct question. Even if it is a simple question, takes me a second to get out of panic mode and respond in a good way.

And for the record... I love how the Japanese language sounds. It is quite a bit different sounding from most other asian laguages like Chinese. It actually has a lot less sounds in it than english, and is generally pretty straight-forward pronounciation-wise. Is interesting to see how Japanese words get mangled in english after a while... nunchaku (noon-cha-koo) becoming nun-chucks, Tokyo (tow-kyo) becoming tow-key-oh.

Pele.. thanks for pointing out the difference between dialect and accent. It is something we don't usually think about, with accent being used for everything as an umbrella word. I've heard some interesting accents over time. One show I saw had Japanese spoken with an Indian accent (India Indian), which was pretty interesting.

Anyway... I'm rambling on and on. Language is really a fascinating topic IMO. The more I see, the more I realize how things can be done in totally different ways. There is quite a lot of variety out there that we never see. It also makes you conciously think about why things are how they are. As was said, language is so ingrained that it becomes difficult to actually look at it objectively.

Shawn


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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California

Total posts: 2905
Posted:Hehe, I have spent the better part of a year now in Japan, and those folks seem to talk really really fast!! I know really nothing of the language but to my ear they talk fast. I wouldnt worry too much about talking fast Shawn.

Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Japanese people do talk fast, i like their language though. I've noticed a lot of people in my class say um instead of aah or ehh or something similar.

To-oh kyo-oh rather than tow-kyo tho Shawn. I got reprimanded about that one night already. *is chastened*

what's wrong with swearing? nothing particuarly. but 9 times out of ten it sounds more intelligent and calm not to use swear words. mebbe even 99 our of 100 times. So if i can limit my use of them, so much the better.

gtg- finish later


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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