Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Losing my, ... word-bank in head thing

I have a coworker, Travis, who has been awing us with his large vocabulary.

I, on the other hand, felt it was too much trouble writing "Scribblings of the metropolitician" on my blogroll, shortened it to "the scribbler" and then misspelled that (fixed today - if you read this, Michael, sorry 'bout that).

I may have an excuse. Travis is a new guy - to my university anyway, while I have seniority - and that seniority may be doing me in.

From the Korea Herald:
English teachers who spend their days repeating slow, exaggerated and simplified speech risk losing their native language skills the longer they stay in Korea.

Eventually it might seem that CNN newscasters speak too fast, or when trying to find the perfect word to explain something... the word just doesn't come.
The loss of vocabulary and fluency is inevitable when there is a lack of educated native speakers around. Dickey lives in a small city where there are a handful of English native speakers, "so when I meet a native speaker of English, I sometimes trip over my own tongue in excitement and find myself without words. Both vocabulary and grammar seem to atrophy," he said.

Dickey suspects that a similar process happens to stay-at-home mothers, primary school teachers, and he said that he has also lost the specialized vocabulary of two professions - management and law - that he has passed through.
Outside of the classroom though, the simplicity can spill over into everyday conversation. Friends may find themselves subject to a lecture-style explanation with exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures that replace complex sentence structure.

One of my friends made a short trip home to the US and was teased mercilessly after he said, "I have to go to a store and buy a [big shaving motions, slow and with his face leaned forward and to one side] razor."

I know this is pretty obvious but I had hoped it would not be that bad. I actually find that I benefit from speaking more slowly; I used to stutter when I got excited and spoke too fast. Now, my pronunciation and speaking are much clearer.

1 comment:

Nathan B. said...

I was just remarking on another blog that I think I've felt my own speech become less efficient and quick. One of the reasons why I read blogs and write my own is to at least keep the old writing skills from dying.