Monday, April 9, 2012

In speech and in writing, be yourself

People who hear what you say or read what you write can’t help judging you by your diction and grammar. That’s because people usually assume that you have deliberately chosen your diction and grammar. So, if you unconsciously or unintentionally imitate a sociolect, your listeners or readers will assume that you are a member of the group that speaks that sociolect.

For example, poseurs speak and write gobbledygook. They do it in an effort to appear knowledgeable. But intelligent listeners and readers perceive that the gobbledygook is gobbledygook and therefore that the poseurs are poseurs.

Unfortunately, gobbledygook has become fashionable, and a lot of knowledgeable people are imitating the poseurs. Intelligent listeners and readers assume that these people are poseurs, too. So, if you are knowledgeable, don’t imitate poseurs.

Here are three more warnings:

If you are intelligent, don’t imitate bimbos.

If you are honest, don’t imitate shysters.

If you are straightforward, don’t imitate politicians.

The Takeaway: If you wish to be taken seriously, don’t imitate the sociolects of poseurs, bimbos, shysters or politicians. Be yourself. Talk like yourself. Write like yourself. You know you have the courage to do it. Do it.

See disclaimer.

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