Category: Language

27 Jun 2008

The Friends Effect

Posted by Oblivion in Language & Networking | 6:09pm

That networking influences what we speak has been proved by extensive research. Some purists resist, some yield with ease, and some eagerly deliberate to add the words in vogue to their personal diction. Of all such words, I don't like particularly two - "like" and "cool". The latter, though, works as a tolerable (for me) filler in informal chat. The filler "like" (used more often in the spoken variant), however, doesn't sound pleasing to me. Far from it. Interestingly, I have noticed that this is used more by women than men. I don't know if this observation of mine agrees with the global statistical data.

While at it, I quite agree with this chap's amusing and insightful take:

"While growing up in India, I was taught to pronounce words phonetically, with the correct intonation and everything. I never heard or used the kinds of speech fillers and anomalies that currently plague our language - the ubiquitous ‘ahs’ and ‘ums’.

With the advent of cable TV and largely puerile (speech-wise, at least) shows such as ‘Friends’, many Indians took to peppering their speeches with untold amounts of ‘likeyaknows’ and ‘o-my-gawds’, playing a tacit co-ordinating game with American teenagers half a world away, most of them completely fooled into thinking that it was somehow cool.

Now of course, teenagers the world over have these speech impediments; all subconsciously semi-programmed into aligning with something they will come to regret at an interview or Toastmaster’s meeting ten years hence.

You call it Network effect. I call it, for lack of a better term, the ‘Friends’ effect."

Raj Pandravada