Monday, May 7, 2012

The Unspoken Importance of Social Speech

   Talking. Yakking. Chatting. Yammering. Speaking. Pontificating.
   How does the way you speak sound to others? What does your manner of speaking, in an unspoken way, say about you, your education and your upbringing? Do you use the same phrases and grammar as your parents use? Have you adapted your own speech to your environment, profession or region?
   We all want to sound intelligent, cultured and current but how does our speech project who we are?
      The following are some modern and *old fashioned tips (just for fun) on how to sound better:

  • If you are over the age of 18 years old, please do not say the words: "actually", "like", "yeah-no", "you know", and "um". Ever.
  • Other than while on the dorm room hall, do not say curse words. Ever. Yes, curse words do include the word "God", and the phrase: "OMG". Curse words are words of last resort. Saying curse words implies you know no other words. If you hang around people who constantly say curse words and foul words, start hanging around a different set of people. If you have to work around people who curse, put your brain in gear and think of other, more creative words instead of cursing yourself.
  • The past tense of 'Drag' is 'dragged', not 'drug' and not 'drugged.'
  • Say: "You did well," not "You did good."
  • Mind your slang. Most of the time, slang in formal settings does not translate well.
  • Do not use slang, or tell jokes, in foreign countries. Slang spoken to and jokes told to foreigners does not translate well at all.
  • As shocking as this next statement may sound to old fashioned, traditional Southerners, one may just as easily say: "Yes, Mrs. Johnson" and "No, Mr. Jones" rather than "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir." In 2012, "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" smack back to a time in America that is no longer applicable in today's "Multi-Culti" society.
  • Please do not say: "Would'a went" or "Stand on line." Say instead: "Would have gone" and "Stand in line."
  • "Physicality" is not a word. Placing "ity" at the end of any ol' word does not make you sound smarter.
  • In 1984, I was told by a society grand dame: "A 'toe-mot-toe' is worth 1/2 a penny more than a tomato." In 2012, saying 'toe-mot-toe' does not make you worth 1/2 a penny more. 
  • Never say "chauffeur." That word went out with the 1930's. Say "driver" instead. 
  • Do not say "Can I." Say "May I" instead.
  • Do not say "I concur." Say instead "I agree."
*Old Fashioned (just for fun...from a 1938 etiquette book) :
  • Do not say "I desire to purchase"   Say instead "I should like to buy"
  • Do not say "I trust I am not trespassing"    Say instead "I hope I am not in the way"
  • Do not say "Will you accord me permission"    Say instead "May I"
  • Do not say "I presume"   Say instead "I suppose"
  • Do not say "Mansion"    Say instead "Big House"
  • Do not say "I will ascertain"   Say instead "I will find out"
  • Do not say "perform ablutions"   Say instead "wash"
  • Do not say "converse"   Say instead "talk"
  • Do not say "Realtor"    Say instead "Real-estate agent" or "broker"
The general rule is what one of my English professors' used to say:
"Do not use a 95 cent word when a 5 cent word will do."

*Old fashioned phrases of speech are from the 1938 book by Emily Post called: "Etiquette."