Use Your Words

I’m talking about Linguistics over at Mad Genius Club this morning… 

I started reading a book not that long ago, and two things sort of reached out and grabbed me while I was reading. One was a failure in foreshadowing, and once I got over my initial WTH? reaction, I was ok with it. The other… was very subtle, and one I can see in many books. 

The main character in this book is supposed to be a barely-above-teens gang kid (on another planet, true) who lives in a ‘nest’ a house in a city where it’s sort of post-apocalyptic… Anyway. He talks like a well-educated middle-aged man. The internal dialogue rambles on about his inexperience and naivety, but that he’s even self-aware of it, let alone talks so very well – it’s cogntive dissonance, I realized thanks to another book I’d read while taking a break from this one. 

Linguistics, a field in which I have only dabbled, but Sarah has promised to come heckle me about, can tell a lot about a person. For instance, I can tell a lot about someone from their facebook postings. I can tell in a private chat if a friend is in pain or distress from their word choices. I suspect if you focused on it, you would realize you can do the same. 

In text-based communication, you don’t have body language to rely on, and whether we realize it or not, most of us (even the socially oblivious) read another person like a book during a conversation. Some people are very good at it. I’ve never been formally trained in cold reading, but I sat through a lot of material on it while my ex was. It’s… fascinating. 

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