Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quiet week

Not feeling very bloggy, so just a quick question:

When did people stop speaking about things, and start speaking to them?

As in, "if you could just speak to the funding situation..."

9 comments:

  1. No idea but I noticed that too. I'll ask blah blah along to 'speak to the situation on dooohickies'. I think people are just trying to sound smarter than they are...because that never happens in science!

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  2. Is that why? 'cos it sounds kinda dumb to me!

    Have you heard it on both sides of the Atlantic?

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  3. Personally, I've been doing it as long as I can remember. For example, I'm going to go speak to the coffee pot.

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  4. As in "hurry up and brew, you bastard?"

    I frequently swear at my phone charger and dodgy MP3 player, does that count?

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  5. If only the funding situation would speak back and reassure me....

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  6. The funding situation is not available for comment. It is too depressed to talk and can currently be found crying in the toilets.

    (I speak of the general funding situation, not anything specific to my department! NIH paylines are down, etc etc etc. Just in case anyone important is reading this).

    In other news, a group of 3 of us just gave the photocopier a stern talking to. He (it is definitely a he) now knows who's boss.

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  7. As a speaker of English as a second language, I can perhaps speak to that phenomenon :-)
    Most of us tend to repeat expressions we hear from native speakers of English, assuming that anything that they say must certainly be correct.
    Native speakers of English, in turn, hear us use those same expressions and assume that if we have elected to adopt them, we surely have bothered to check the dictionary to make sure that they exist. This will serve as validation, and as a result the expressions become de facto part of the spoken language.
    So, hypothetically speaking, would anyone writing something like "As his PhD co-supervisor, I can speak to his progress over the past two years" on a letter of recommendation (one already sent out, hypothetically) make a complete dork of himself ? It's all hypothetical eh ? Like, totally hypothetical...

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  8. As a speaker of English as a second language, I can perhaps speak to that phenomenon :-)
    Most of us tend to repeat expressions we hear from native speakers of English, assuming that anything that they say must certainly be correct.
    Native speakers of English, in turn, hear us use those same expressions and assume that if we have elected to adopt them, we surely have bothered to check the dictionary to make sure that they exist. This will serve as validation, and as a result the expressions become de facto part of the spoken language.
    So, hypothetically speaking, would anyone writing something like "As his PhD co-supervisor, I can speak to his progress over the past two years" on a letter of recommendation (one already sent out, hypothetically) make a complete dork of himself ? It's all hypothetical eh ? Like, totally hypothetical...

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  9. Hypothetically, not at all, because everyone is doing it now!

    I just finished reading a New Scientist article about the evolution of the English language and the impact of non-native speakers. A future post maybe...

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