Monday, May 11, 2009

Language Negotiations (Auto week 6)

Over the course of a few days I noticed that language negotiations can go undetected by the beholder unless someone points them out. Personally I’ve never really paid much attention to the ways I use and alter language up until I read the guidelines for this assignment. I found that it was much easier to point out those negotiations of someone else than the ones I personally made. When answering the phone at work or even when answering a personal call from an unknown caller, I noticed that people including myself tend to sound more proper. For example, I would normally answer my cell phone with a “yes?” if I know the caller. However at work or when answering an unknown call I feel obligated to say “hello, Colton Middle School”. If at work the call is not for me I would ask “may I please ask who’s calling?”, yet if it were on my cell phone I would probably just ask “who’s this?”. Sometimes making the transition from one to another can be so abrupt that I forget which environment I’m in, hence answering my cell phone with a “Colton Middle School” instead of a simple “hello”. The caller, usually a friend, finds it hysterical.
As I reflect on my language negotiations, I think of the times I’ve had to attend job interviews where the way I normally speak goes out the window and out comes my proper and intellectual alter ego. When trying to impress someone of power [job interview] I normally stay away from slang or any type of non proper speech. I make my best attempt to sound sophisticated and educated and even when I don’t quite have an answer to a question I try to sound as if I did.
Language negotiations also occur in written language. Such negotiations are usually more noticeable in text messaging where everything is usually abbreviated or in slang. The emails I send are usually altered as well. Emails to professors and my school principal would usually be more refined than the ones I would send to friends and family. Everyone makes alterations that are suited to fit into the environment in which we are, whether it be consciously or not.

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