Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages | + Opinion

Have you ever found yourself counting ums and uhs?

Many scientists, though, think that our cultural fixation with stamping out what they call “disfluencies” is deeply misguided. Saying um is no character flaw, but an organic feature of speech; far from distracting listeners, there’s evidence that it focuses their attention in ways that enhance comprehension.

Source: Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages

Detail from “Pocket HIts”



While the above piece contains a few interesting details, for the most part, it seems pretty pedantic.

Perhaps it represents the majority view, the status quo if you will. After all, it came as a notification in my inbox called “Pocket Hits.”

I’m not saying the people at Pocket are stupid or superficial. Far from it. To know your target market is important and Pocket seems to have hit its stride.

What I am saying is that generally speaking, there seems to be two types of people in this world. Yes, we’re all unique but overall we might be grouped into two main types:

Type A – Those who see speech as a process that can definitely describe something (semioticians call this denotation)

Type B – Those who see speech as a series of connotations

The first type believes that pure denotation is possible. Others, like myself, maintain there is always some kind of connotation (or connotations) attached to a supposedly cut and dried denotation.

On and off the web we regularly encounter these two types.

Type A people may want to pin you down and angrily ask, “What are you saying“? These folks are locked up in view of interaction as an exchange of worldly power. Talking with them is often like a tug of war. They may try to one-up you or always prove they are right.

In a word, they are a bore. In two words, they are an annoying bore.

When you imply something to try to improve a situation or make a meaningful connection it just goes right over Type A’s heads.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday” (1953)

Type B, on the other hand, understands that language can be a delightful dance. Here is where the fun begins. Language interplay can be an art form in itself.

Personally speaking, when I find someone on my wavelength – or at least, within range – interacting with them can be a pleasant, educational experience. Add a touch of mutual transpersonal awareness and you have a recipe for a Roman holiday!

But alas, these birds are relatively rare. Some are just fresh out of the egg, not having yet learned how to fly. Others are still in the egg, getting ready to bust their shell and discover a whole new vista.

Then there are those who seem more like hard-boiled eggs. Not much hope of dancing a waltz or cha-cha-chá with them.

Oh well. Life goes on. And it seems the hidden gems out there appear just when I need them most. 🙂


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