Inspired by the “Do you use ‘niggardly’” and “Do you use ‘snigger’” threads? How high is your vocabulary in most of your conversations?
I’m getting better…by which I mean I’m using more vocabulary that the layperson understands and fewer high-fallutin’ words. I still have a large vocabulary, due to an extreme love of reading as a kid (an adult) but I’m a more effective communicator if I don’t use six dollar words in everyday speech.
I try to converse on the same level as the people I am conversing with.
What if you aren’t sure?
Listening a bit before you jump in, and while you are conversing, usually helps.
That’s what I try to do, too. It’s not too hard to figure out what level you need to use; actually, now that I’m thinking of it, my default vocabulary is nowhere near my whole vocabulary; I only take the filters off with people I am fairly sure will know the words I’m using (like you folk - I don’t filter at all here).
I speak only with the utmost eruditional splendiferousness.
Do you also use a British or Bostonian accent?
Me not sure. Me try talk good, but wurds hard.
Both. Alternately. Hard on the soft palate, I tell you what.
My vocabulary is high enough that I have to consciously tame it down in conversation. I went through a lot of years of “it’s not my fault if you’re too dumb to understand what I’m saying” before I realized that all that I was accomplishing was a very poor style of communication and a lot of anger and resentment from the people with whom I was speaking. I still have to stop and think, particularly in the workplace, “Is there a word I could use that would be more understandable to my audience?”
The upside of this is that I am universally recognized in my workplace as the expert on communication, and when it comes to writing, my word is law. I get the final say on appropriate grammar, style and word choice, and my boss always consults with and defers to me on these questions.
[sub]Now for Gaudere’s law to come in and bite me.[/sub]
I picked up somewhere a simple lesson that works for me. I shared this in the ‘niggardly’ thread too.
One should speak as plainly as possible. Regardless of your audience, you should make your meaning as clear and plain as needed. If your ideas call for a fancier word, a more colorful word, a more obscure word, then by god, pull it out! But if you can make your idea or thoughts known without pulling out the big guns, then do that, generally speaking.
I love to listen to smart folks talking in GQ or GD. Eventually, the language raises to the level of the higher ideas being discussed, the philosophies demand more and more exciting and beautiful language. (until I’m totally lost) I love that.
I notice that some authors flavor up their work with lots of flowery language, but my favorite authors only use fancy language when the imagery they are trying to get across calls for it.
ETA: And I do understand that people who love language and words will want to indulge. I don’t blame them for that.
Depends on the audience. Honestly, the thing I’m trying to do right now is just slow down; apparently, my West Coast accent is a little hard to understand here in the South.
Language is like music. It only relates to those who wish to listen.
I have a very good vocabulary. I know this because I earned very high scores on the verbal sections of the SAT and the GRE, not because people are always asking me what a word I used means. I think I talk pretty normally, but a friend recently commented, pretty much out of the blue, on how large my vocabulary is.
But in general, I don’t think I speak particularly intelligently. In more ways than one. I’m no super genius.
That’s a very germane point - my goal is communicating, not showing off how many ten cent words I know.
And when you do find yourself communicating some high ideas indeed, all your 10 dolla words will come in handy.
Yeah, that’s not likely to happen (I stay away from all those high-falutin’ idea places).
I only let my extensive vocabulary out during games of Scrabble.
It’s fun to win. A lot.
I tend to err on the opposite side of things, as an occupational hazard (primary school teacher). When I was younger, I absolutely seeded my conversation with ten-dollar words. When I realized it was impeding my ability to communicate clearly, I went through a phase of near-stuttering, as I weeded the unnecessary words out of my speech and searched for low-key synonyms.