All The More Reason


I’m like…”graaah!”
May 6, 2007, 1:18 am
Filed under: Rhetoric

Recently it has been drawn more and more to my attention that people are avoiding actually choosing an adjective to describe their current emotional state. Instead, the new standby is to actually imitate the emotion with a mild scream, or hurl, or gargle of some sort. For example:

“Last night, I was watching TV when that shooting came on TV and I was like ‘graaaah’.”

This tendency does have the advantage of including some intonation to the grunt to convey an emotion, but it does hold the distinct disadvantage of making us sound more like barn animals. More importantly, the english language is not lacking in adjectives to describe ourselves.

“When I saw the results of the election, I was crestfallen.”

Does that not have a slightly better ring to it than:

“When I saw the results of the election, I was like ‘aaaaaaaag!'”

Two things about this interest me. Because everyone still knows these other words one can continue to use these adjectives to describe oneself or others in exquisite detail. The other thing of interest is to try and find the cause for this manner of speaking. The short answer is I have no clue. The long answer would be that I suspect that because we have become far more literate when it comes to watching films we are able to understand better that someone mimicking a sound and a facial expression relates to that previous time and not now.

Perhaps it’s worth adding that the facial expression is also crucial to this manner of communicating. In that sense, one who not only used choice adjectives but with appropriate facial mannerisms would be double effective as a communicator.

Jonathan Smith

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