Monday, April 25, 2011

Choice of Words

Why do people choose the words that they do? Is it all just a part of where and how we're raised? Or do we develop distinct ways of deciding which words we use? I'm not really sure. I was talking about a friend responding to a question today and I replied in the words (and a terrible accent) of the response I thought he would use. My husband told me that my impression of him is getting better - meaning that while my accent was not on, my choice of words was exactly this person. Apparently, I'm either good at picking up on that or "I've just got enough British friends" to have some knowledge of these things. It got me to thinking about the words we use and while there are some distinctly British words, is there a particularly British way of choosing what words you use? My comment was that our friend would say "whichever you would like to do" - I happened to also get his inflection down quite nicely if I do say so myself. But is that how I would respond to "Which place would you like to go eat?" My indecisive choice of words would probably be something along the lines of either "I'm not going to be the decisive one again" which would shortly give way to me making a decision with my husband's health nut attitude in mind, or "I don't care, which would you like to eat at?" My husband (between the two places we usually would go) would quickly reply "Well, why don't we go get a Freshness Burger." Freshness Burger is the name of the place, but he also calls each burger that. I tend to not call them that - just plain "burger" works for me. But all this is in light of an editing job that I'm doing for my sister. She's written a paper and I have found myself wondering how she comes to choose the words that she does? I would write her paper (same topic) very differently than she would. And when she talks, she shows great grasp of ideas, but still chooses words to describe her ideas that I would not. I am biased toward the "academic/scholarly" tribe of writers (as I have been in college more recently and am encouched in the world that is my husband's philosophy department). She is much more practical with words, but is also nervous about sounding "more educated" in her paper (not that she isn't educated- she's got a Master's degree). It's just interesting the way that we use words and choose to use words when talking and describing thing. 

Initial thought: Word choice
Time: 10 minutes

Wow. That time went a lot faster than I thought it would.