Friday, August 24, 2007

now comes a book on ums

In today's Wall Street Journal, you'll find this review of a new book on our verbal gaffes, called -- what else? -- Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean by Michael Erard. The review highlights some of the interesting facts Erard found when he untied our collective tongues -- we'd never call them trivia, as they're not trivial when you're trying to be eloquent. Among them:
- Verbal mistakes make up between 5 and 8 percent of your everyday speech;
-"Slips of the tongue" or tangled-up speech are generally noticed more than interruptions in speech -- like "ums" -- unless they become a habit;
- Gesturing reduces your mistakes, but tying down someone's arm increases them; and
- You're more likely to make a verbal slip when you're talking on the phone, or if your hands are in your pockets.
Clearly, we'll want to read this one to find out why. In the meantime, keep your hands out of your pockets and practice our other fixes for ums and pauses, and our advice on banishing "visual ums" that don't involve language but do interfere with your speech.

Buy Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean

No comments: