Different English’s

I wouldn’t say I have different English’s to the point where I’m speaking differently, as much as I have different manners.  I would never pull out my phone to check a text message in the presence of my grandparents if we’re interacting in any shape or form.  The constraints on this loosen around parents, especially when we’re looking up a fact or an article, and I can get away with checking my phone occasionally.  And with friends, it depends on the group more and the respect I hold for them and that they reciprocate.  I find it a good way to measure respect.  But this is only the most obvious way to evaluate how I act differently with different groups.  Many of them are much more subtle,, making them hard to recognize, but they’re all there.  

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One thought on “Different English’s

  1. Ian, I encourage you to think further about your “Englishes”. Do you for example speak with your friends the same way you do with your grandparents? I agree that behavior is a form of communication and differs from one audience to another. This includes “manner” as you mentioned. Perhaps your Englishes aren’t as different as Amy Tan’s are, but there is still a manner of speaking that you take up with some people and other manners you take up with others. Would the birthday card that you write to a grandparent read in the same way as one you write to a buddy? Would it have the same diction or the same tone? Consider slang… isn’t that one of your Englishes?

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