Here is the full text of sociolinguist Vera Regan’s talk: What Your Speaking Style, Like, Says About You at TEDxDublin conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: What your speaking style, like, says about you by Vera Regan at TEDxDublin
As John said, I’m a sociolinguist. What does that mean? Sociolinguists study the role of language in society.
Yeah, but what does it mean? What do they do? Sociolinguists are professional eavesdroppers. But unlike other eavesdroppers, they’re not so much interested in what the people are saying, but how they’re saying it. For sociolinguists, language is neither good nor bad. It’s meaningful.
I was on the bus the other day, and I heard two young girls chatting behind me. So I was eavesdropping as usual. And this is what I heard.
“And I was like, ‘No way!’
And he was like, ‘Well, it’s only, like, two miles.”
And the other one said, “OMG. In your killer heels! Amazeballs!”
And the first one goes, “Yeah, like, totes.”
There was an elderly lady sitting nearby, and she was looking very disapproving indeed. Us, linguists however, we don’t bother disapproving about language. There are two reasons for this. First of all, we can’t stop language changing. Language has a life of its own. New stuff comes in, it moves. Nothing to be done.