Changing my Speech

How easy is it to change a language? To introduce a new word? To modify my own way of talking and writing?

As you probably realize, adapting the words we use is more difficult when we do so consciously. Popular “word fads,” such as YOLO, Keep Calm, legit, overuse of the word “like,” and quoting YouTube videos (ain’t nobody got time for that) sneak into our vocabulary easily. The more we’re around these words and people who use them, the more we incorporate them into our way of talking. There’s nothing wrong with this- a language is constantly being modified by the majority of its speakers. However, there are some phrases and words that I am attempting to omit from my arsenal of expressions, each with a specific reason why.

I could’ve died, I almost died, I was dying [inside], it was killing me, et cetera: Most of what I’m trying to modify about the way I talk involves taking out phrases involving death. Yes, hyperbole is a literary tool, but I disagree with these phrases and most others that resemble them. For one thing, it is not creative. There is a plethora of interesting and sometimes obscure adjectives to categorize pain, and it takes more effort and brain power to avoid the common descriptions, which typically compare discomfort and embarrassment to death. The main reason I don’t want to say these things, though, is that I don’t agree with making light of death. Yes, death is an inevitable fact of life; that doesn’t make it any less painful to lose a loved one, and this loss seems to be mocked when someone compares spilling their lunch tray in front of the whole cafeteria to dying.

It was suicide: No, this is not the same thing as comparing an activity to dying. Death is an awful reality, but suicide is a tragedy. It cannot be likened to the traffic, or trying to be nice to someone you dislike, or anything else people say this about (I have few examples for this because when someone begins to say that, my mind goes off on an angry tangent).

I’m starving: Too many people are actually starving. My hunger upon missing lunch is immeasurably different from actual starvation and suffering.

I love [insert object or food here]: Love is dishearteningly cliché already. There is a large difference between the “love” I have for ice cream and the love I feel towards human beings. I’ve been trying to eliminate the overuse of love from my speech for six years, though, and I still say it, so I’ve got a ways to go.

General complaints: I once read a quote from Rita Schiano that said, “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”

These are just my opinions on words and expressions I am trying to stop using, usually with very personal reasons behind doing so. What common phrases make you angry? Are there words you wish you could remove from your vocabulary? Do you disagree with some of my ideas? I’d love- I mean, greatly enjoy- to hear from y’all. 🙂

-Heather

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