Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Like-speak - goes with Uptalk


Like-speak is to intelligence what Uptalk is to personality

The useful term 'Uptalk', for a rising, pseudo-questioning, intonation at the end of each and every sentence -


- seems to describe a characteristically modern young person's attribute: either pathological diffidence, or an affection of it.

So, up-talk could be regarded as an aspect of personality - providing probabilistic information on a person's disposition.


The other distinctive speech pathology of modern young persons could be termed Like-speak - it is the use of the work 'like' to start, finish and/or punctuate every sentence.

"Like, I was walking down the road like; and this - like - guy... he was like shouting 'Fire' and, like, I was like 'Errr!. And like he says like: run! So I was like [makes stunned facial expression], then I was like [makes running gesture with fingers] like... (and so on).


So, what does this frequent punctuation with like signify?

Answer: low intelligence (or, more rarely, an affectation of low intelligence).

More accurately, like-speak is mostly a matter of low intelligence trying to disguise itself.


This is fairly obvious - but I have scientific evidence!


The graph shows the positive and significant correlation between language complexity and working memory - and (not shown) working memory is positively correlated with general intelligence (g) - therefore:

Language complexity is positively correlated with intelligence

Furthermore, it seems that language spontaneously tends to be produced at the maximum level of complexity possible for a given level of intelligence.

So the more intelligent you are, the more complex your language; and vice versa.


(That is why you can fairly reliably estimate someone's intelligence from just talking with them, on almost any topic. Because, unconsciously and automatically, you are evaluating the complexity of their language. Of course, this only works for people of equal or lesser intelligence than yourself.)


Like-speak breaks-up language into smaller, hence less-complex units - or, as a generalization and to put it the way around which reflects causation - people who use like-speak cannot produce more complex language.

Instead they are forced to break language into smaller and more manageable and less-complex units, by continually interjecting 'like'.

Instead of talking in long and continuous sentences, like-speakers are - in effect - talking in tiny, fragmentary, partial-sentences.

But they can't help it: That is all they can manage!


Each 'like' comes (ahem) like a momentary 'cognitive rest' and regrouping when the maximum complexity point has been reached; after which another new simple unit of language can be emitted until the complexity-limit is again reached when the next 'like' is inserted to provide another cognitive rest.

And, what is objectionable about like-speak is not the low intelligence of like-speakers, there is nothing wrong with low intelligence - in fact I have several friends who are low in intelligence (irony alert) - but the intrinsic pretentiousness of trying to appear more intelligent than you really are.


But is all this really true? - surely interjecting like is just the latest fashion in coolness?

Maybe so; but more likely there is always some such fashion which provides the less intelligent with an 'excuse' to cover-up their simplicity of language which would otherwise 'give away' their inability to express themselves in more complex language.

If not the word 'like', then phrases such as 'you know', or  'he says/ she says', or 'man' or...