Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Reginald Colon
Last updated: September 28, 2019
It is undeniable that the way we talk, walk and present ourselves speaks volumes about our identity to the rest of the world. Today we will look into how ways of talking we may take for granted or not notice at all, heavily influence daily interactions, and ultimately, our lives.Though everyone loves to go on brigading the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, each one of us is guilty of doing it to a degree at some point in our lives – the same can be said about how we perceive others around us. “Look at his unkempt tie.
.. Are you really going to wear those shoes to the party?… Have you seen your hair today?.. Do you really talk like that?.
..”, these are all phrases we have heard in our lives, some of us have heard them more than others, and many of us are guilty of using them ourselves. To conclude, I feel like we should all be more aware of the way we subconsciously judge others based on the way they talk and accept that our immediate impression of them may be biased.
If we could do that, we would live in a much more objective world, a world where the way we talk doesn’t govern the outcome of our interactions, but rather, the subject matter of our conversation. *reader nods in unison* Wait a minute?!? What just happened? Is that it? Is that the WHOLE argument? It can’t be right? Right. Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina agrees. In her article, Stop Saying ‘I feel like’. She says “People now don’t think, believe or reckon. They ‘feel like’ “.
She states that “data that linguists have collected indicates that “I feel like” became more common toward the end of the last century. In North American English, it seems to have become a synonym for “I think” or “I believe” only in the last decade or so.” Jing Chai, a senior at the University of Chicago, said: “I’ve tried to check myself when I say that.
I think it probably demeans the substance of what I’m trying to say.” It really does! Didn’t you think my abrupt conclusion above was completely baseless? When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told Molly. Me feeling like anything at all is irrelevant to how a factual argument should take form and Molly agrees with me as she concludes “We should not “feel like.” We should argue rationally, feel deeply and take full responsibility for our interaction with the world.” I agree completely. Recently language has evolved to become more accepting, and non-confrontational, though phrases like “I feel like” promote inclusion and respect for the opinions of others we seem to forget that it makes our own arguments and statements much less powerful.These days, everything is about power.
We’re all supposed to be strong, independent individuals and language has seemingly started to play a part in it. In “Just Don’t Do It”, Deborah Cameron, talks about an article in the Economist explaining how men’s use of language undermines their authority, or rather, the lack thereof of any such article. She says “No one writes articles telling men how they’re damaging their career prospects by using the wrong words. With women, on the other hand, it’s a regular occurrence.
” Deborah says that many women think that attaining success in the workplace “boils down to is ‘talk like a man’. Men are more successful in the workplace, so if women want to emulate their success, the trick is to mimic their behaviour.” She then states the obvious flaw in this reasoning, “Men’s greater success in the workplace is largely a product of their privileged status as men: just imitating their behaviour won’t give women their status.” It’s sad how ‘talking like a woman’ might affect the outcome of our conversation. Marybeth Seitz-Brown came up against this logic when an interview she gave on US radio prompted a flood of criticism of her speech, the listeners who criticized her insisted they were doing it for her own good.
She responded: “I really do appreciate these listeners’ concerns, but their criticism implies that if women just spoke like men, our ideas would be valuable. … But the problem is not with feminized qualities, of speech or otherwise, the problem is that our culture pathologizes feminine traits as something to be ashamed of or apologize for” I think Seitz-Brown and Deborah are right: the way women talk shouldn’t influence their abilities anywhere. For that matter, the way men, women, children, immigrants, people from different regions, anyone talks shouldn’t influence or affect anyone’s interactions, but in this imperfect world, they sadly do. The accent someone talks in plays a crucial role in the way we judge a person, according to psychologists in Germany.
“The accent is much more important than the way a person looks,” Dr. Tamara Rakic sums up one of the key findings of her study. Judging by peoples accents, “The classification into social categories, like for instance ethnicity, happens spontaneously and helps us to understand and simplify the complex world and to enable us to deal more easily with complexity,” Dr. Rakic says. However the psychologist continues, categorizing can turn into unreflected stereotype-based judgment and lead to discrimination.As part of the study, participants were given two audio recordings along with two photos to represent the person speaking on the audiotapes.
One photo featured a white male and the other an Asian male. The voice on both audio recordings was, in fact, the same voice, that of a native English speaker. Interestingly, participants rated the audio recording linked to the Asian photo as having a stronger foreign accent than the other voice. Furthermore, they gave a low score of their understanding of the information provided by the Asian image/audio. This research highlights the fact that we are conditioned to expect an accent from a person who is not white, to the point of finding an accent when none is present. “To speak with an accent, to be unable to speak ‘pure’ English (whatever that is) has been internalised as a mark of shame.
When we make fun of people who speak with different accents it cuts very deeply and can be soul ripping” writes Rev Swee-Ann Koh. He says “Discriminating against someone because he or she speaks with a different accent is rarely a product of malice Rather it occurs because of unconscious bias.” We before making a snap judgement, we should take a moment to pause and think, does the way we interact with people with different accents affect the way we talk to them?Alain de Botton, who was awarded “The Fellowship of Schopenhauer”, an annual writers’ award from the Melbourne Writers Festival, for his work says “I passionately believe that’s it’s not just what you say that counts, it’s also how you say it – that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it”, and I wholeheartedly agree.Finally I reiterate. We should all be more aware of the way we subconsciously judge others based on the way they talk and accept that our immediate impression of them may be biased. If we could do that, we would live in a much more objective world, a world where the way we talk doesn’t govern the outcome of our interactions, but rather, the subject matter of our conversation.