Saturday, March 07, 2009

Speech Patterns

I recently had occasion to give close attention to exactly and literally what several participants in a conference were saying over several hours' time. It's fascinating how much verbiage is wasted in speech. For example, one of the participants prefaced nearly every statement with "No. Yes. I agree." Over and over and over. It finally came to me that this was his way of making sure he got into the conversation, by blurting out something--anything--to take the floor.

The same guy was heavily into making very lengthy sentences, ramming conjunctions into place with rapidfire enunciation before anyone else could get a word in or even think about saying something and often saying nothing of consequence or just repeating himself to hold the floor while he was thinking about what to say next and actually that was what he was doing when he opened sentences with "No. Yes. I agree," more or less talking without thinking which is something that you'll probably notice people doing now that you've read this but in the end he came off as very foolish and even uneducated despite the fact that he was trying to sound educated and urbane by using phrases like "from the perspective of."

Semi-stuttering was another floor-holding tactic. At one point, the guy slowly said, "Well, the da-da-da-da-da-data," before forming and launching into, "is indicative of a profound shift in para-dij-em from the perspective of the financial sphere..." blah, blah, blah. It all makes me glad that writing dialogue in literal imitation of reality isn't in vogue.

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