We Americans have an epidemic linguistic problem and it DRIVES ME CRAZY!! I’ll write the next section of the post in a way that illustrates my point:I know you’ve heard people speak this way? But the thing is, it’s so prevalent now that most don’t even know when they’re doing it? And they sound like they’re constantly questioning their own authority? Especially the under 30 crowd? But by no means is it limited to that age group, or any particular group for that matter?

OK. Enough-a that. I can’t even stand to write without conviction, let alone speak without it. Some call it “up  talking”. A freind told me that Fast Company magazine did a piece on it while back (couldn’t put my finger on it “fast” enough for this post, so if you know, please pass on). The article talked about this being a HUGE problem for young professionals in the workplace—they don’t sound convincing or confident, but we older folk know they are not the only ones.

I wonder if this is peculiar to American english, or if other languages also suffer from this diction affliction? Also wonder if it’s more prevalent in California—evidence of the de-evolution of  the 1980s Valley Girl? (chill…those are legitimate question marks)

Well, my upbringing in Albany, GA was the antithesis of this; our teachers at Hazard Laboratory School, Carver Jr. High and Monroe High taught us Public Speaking. We entered oratory contests. And for me and my sister, Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church was our training ground for showcasing what we learned.

I DETEST this crime against language, and I will bust young folk who commit it in my presence by asking them…

“Are you asking me or telling me?”

Slam poet Taylor Mali has a brilliant answer to this problem, with typography animation by Ronnie Bruce. Please do your part to help Save The Spoken Word—pass this blog link on, especially to help any “up talker” you know (which—you realize—may also be… you?)

The Skinny ~ “It’s not enough these days to simply question authority; you got to speak with it, too.”  — Taylor Mali