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Thread: How do you respond to "Stop using such big words!"?

  1. #1

    How do you respond to "Stop using such big words!"?

    Every now and then I encounter someone who complains about my word choices and tries to get me to alter them. Most of the time they do so jokingly and don't press the subject--I like to think they get used to my manner of speaking--but every now and then there's someone who constantly rags me about it.

    I've tried responding with "But it's part of my geeky charm!" but that hasn't stopped him. Once I explained that I didn't feel comfortable dumbing down my speech because I wouldn't want to offend someone by talking down to them. (Hey, I've been on the wrong end of that, and it's insulting.) Perhaps next I'll have to explain that my mind and words are all I have to rely on. To stifle them would be denying the best part of myself.

    Thing is, I don't even think the words I've been called out on are really all that "big". Most of the time they're just the right word to convey the shade of meaning I'm after. For instance, one of the words complained about was irk. "Why can't you just say angry or upset?" I was asked. Well, I wasn't actually angry or upset, I was irritated, but knew I would not be so for very long. Neither angry nor upset accurately conveys that. And how am I to know he doesn't understand the word irk?

    (Of course, I would certainly try to use simple, common words if I knew there was a valid reason for someone not to have a decent vocabulary, such as for someone still learning English or with some sort of disability. But this guy is a college student!)

    So what's the best way to respond to such a complaint? I don't want to come off as arrogant, but I don't want to pander to an anti-intellectual either.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I get this at work and in my life too. Frustrating. I'm not even that smart. lol
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

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    Senior Member TomRL's Avatar
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    Ignore the comments. Let people look up unfamiliar words. Use the phrases that are quintessentially you. Just avoid malapropisms.
    Tom

    "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    How to respond?

    One appropriate response would be the following:

    "Fuck Off, Stupid!"
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

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  5. #5
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    Im the one with a small vocabulary, so usually ask what it means, or I try to remember the words and look them up later.

    my most recent word is not a big word. (vapid).

    I dont think you should change a thing. perhapes give the person a pocket dictionary as a gift.

  6. #6
    Senior Member beecee's Avatar
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    say really slowly, "if you try really hard you can understand"

    if that doesn't work, go with foolish's idea

  7. #7
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    What a silly request. If a person finds your vocabulary better than theirs it behooves them to improve their own, not request that you dumb it down. Perhaps you should give the offender a dictionary as a Christmas present.....

  8. #8
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    It irks me that someone would criticize you for speaking in your natural fashion. they dont deserve a response.

  9. #9
    Every now and then I encounter someone who complains about my word choices and tries to get me to alter them. Most of the time they do so jokingly and don't press the subject--I like to think they get used to my manner of speaking--but every now and then there's someone who constantly rags me about it.

    I've tried responding with "But it's part of my geeky charm!" but that hasn't stopped him. Once I explained that I didn't feel comfortable dumbing down my speech because I wouldn't want to offend someone by talking down to them. (Hey, I've been on the wrong end of that, and it's insulting.) Perhaps next I'll have to explain that my mind and words are all I have to rely on. To stifle them would be denying the best part of myself.
    IF it's a natural way of talking from you, it's probably not going to be noticeable, but then again, IF it's frequent enough to bother you, then maybe you are trying too hard?

    Teasing from friends is no big deal, but if you get this from friends and others, then maybe how you communicate isn't coming across as you'd like or think you are. With the friend who keeps ragging you, who knows, maybe he knows that this irks you and likes pulling your pigtails.

    (Of course, I would certainly try to use simple, common words if I knew there was a valid reason for someone not to have a decent vocabulary, such as for someone still learning English or with some sort of disability. But this guy is a college student!)

    So what's the best way to respond to such a complaint? I don't want to come off as arrogant, but I don't want to pander to an anti-intellectual either.
    Simplifying what you say and how you say it isn't "dumbing down" or pandering to some anti-intellectual. IF that's what you actually think, then maybe you are trying too hard.

    Some of the smartest, highly intellectual and prolific thinkers and writers communicate very simply, without pretension or attempt to appeal to a select "intellect", because to do otherwise can easily become little more than a means to measure and value oneself rather than a desire for honest communication.

    Your thoughts about simple communication as dumbing down, pandering to anti-intellectuals, and even suggesting that such communication is reserved for the mentally disabled, is where I have issue. Such thoughts themselves can be seen as pandering and intellectually stifled, among other things.

    You do write well, but all I'm going by is what you've written here, as I can't know how you communicate verbally with others, so take my comments as a way of looking at your issue and your experience of it from a different (and unattached) pov.
    Last edited by chick; 09-29-2011 at 01:19 PM. Reason: fixing quote

  10. #10
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    As some1 who gets asked this all the fin time

    1.that i cant translate my words in2 laymans speech i just cant

    2.my mother cant handle the real world my boyfriend just tryin to help ingrate me to ab world

    3.i need to hang out with people who speak at my level

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