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April 25, 2013

How Do We Talk?

Who of us even considers how we speak? We all should, because as well know, on some level at least, how we say something is at least as important as...

...what we say.

But even if we recognize how important it is, how do we even begin to define or categorize the way we, or any of us, speak?

Many languages, Asian languages in particular, have built-in tones. The English language does not, but many of us, perhaps even all of us, use or incorporate our own tones in our use of language.

Our personal tone gives our language use yet another layer of meaning, intent and individual style.

This is quite different from an accent. An accent is shared, but tone is purely individual.

The Wall Street Journal has an article that explores what this tone does to and for us.

Here's an excerpt from the article;

"A strong, smooth voice can enhance your chances of rising to CEO. And a nasal whine, a raspy tone or strident volume can drive colleagues to distraction. "People may be tempted to say, 'Would you shut up?' But they dance around the issue because they don't want to hurt somebody's feelings," says Phyllis Hartman, an Ingomar, Pa., human-resources consultant."

And here is a link to the whole piece - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323735604578440851083674898.html?mod=e2fb.

Be sure to send us any words, phrases or language usages that puzzle you, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing, constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

Also: If you'd like to have Morf visit your school or program this summer, you can contact him at mmorf(at)mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at April 25, 2013 06:48 PM

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