Thursday, July 6, 2006

Rich creamery butter

Why is it that so many people, myself included, find it at least somewhat offensive when they find themselves picking up other peoples' expressions and mannerisms? I never said "oh dear" in my life before moving out here, and I find myself speaking the same way that my coworkers do now, not simply using their favorite words. It isn't the end of the world, but it does bother me a bit. On the other hand, I find it weirdly satisfying when I notice someone else picking up my bizarre vocal habits.

Is it simply natural absorption of one's environment, at odds with the instinct to be independent and unique? Is it some kind of jealousy that someone else has discovered a more interesting way of talking? On the other side of things, is it pride that you've made a lasting impact on someone's subconscious mind when you notice them picking up your favorite phrases and habits?

Why don't I mind similarly when I find myself imitating someone on TV?

And why hasn't "that's a load of rich creamery butter" caught on? That phrase is gold.


Anonymous said...

I think it is a basic habit we all have. It shows familiarity and seems to be something that we do on a subconscience level.

There have been research on dating which shows that people who are attracted to one another will actually mirror the others movements. However, they are not at all aware of it happening. It kind of makes one another feel more comfortable and other things.

I think the speech patterns is a very similar thing.

Just my two cents on the matter.

MajorLB said...

I understand completely. I just spent 4.5 weeks living with someone new and I picked up ALL of her phrases and some mannerisms. The only reason I'm not completely annoyed at myself is the fact that I will probably never spend a significant amount of time with her again. And she reintroduced me to the word "clusterfuck" which I now use as regularly as possible.

Kerjo said...

I've almost always tried to do it on purpose. I think it can help you better communicate with the person whose phrases you're stealing. After all, if they talk that way, it should help them understand you by already putting it in their phrasing.