Formal Speech

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The more I talk with friends, colleagues and just people in general, the more I realize we all communicate in two very different forms of speech.

Most of us reserve formal speech for the office or when we meet new people. As we get to know our co-workers and friends better we lapse into a more casual way of communicating. Complete with slang, curses and made up words. Not to mention turning other words into nouns, verbs and not the original part of speech. This greatly depends on your office culture and I wouldn’t recommend casual forms of speech when talking with your boss or giving a presentation.

While some people have said this casual way of speaking is to the determent of the English language, I disagree. Language evolves. With the constant communication we take for granted every day, language is evolving faster.

Prime example: I started saying love, love, love awhile ago. I can’t take credit for being the first because I can’t say I was, but I can say I was the first in my group of friends. Enough so that one of them realized she was using it every day and said when I say it, in my head, I hear it in your voice.

This topic came about because of this story on NPR about Eliza Doolittle Day on May 20th. The particular point I found interesting was “We are now in an age when Sarah Palin speaks to a quarter of the electorate, even though she talks like she’s translating into Korean and back again. Even the rhetorically gifted President Obama has felt compelled to drop his g’s while tryin’ to sell health care reform.”

The author continues on to say “Our country was built by people striving to move up, not dumbing down. So on this Eliza Doolittle Day, perhaps we should all take a moment to think before we speak.”

I wonder if it isn’t that we are dumbing ourselves down, but trying to communicate with a wider audience in a more relatable way.

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