write like you talk

Kathy Sierra writes :

Your sixth grade English teacher warned you against writing the way you talk, but she was wrong. Partly wrong, anyway. Then again, we aren’t talking about writing the way you talked when you were 12. Or even the way you talk when you’re rambling.

For me, I try hard to do the reverse; i.e. talk like I write. This is because my writing is quite informal and accessible, or so I choose to believe, based on what people have told me. My speech, on the other hand, suffers from the same problem most communication networks have these days: network congestion with bottlenecks. My brain comes up with a more than a million things that I would like to eventually communicate to the listener, something that is theoretically not possible given that there’s a physical limit to how fast I can speak. Also, all these thoughts are not neccesarily in order (for example this sentence was inserted after I wrote the next two sentences), hence a lot of reordering needs to be done. Adding to this set of problems is another part of my brain which decides to do a lookahead analysis of the responses my audience might come up with, and then precomputing retorts and rebuttals to them.

This overwhelming of thought packets on the mouth buffer drives me into an incoherent mumble which often makes people think I’m a socially inept, dumb retard of some sort, saying all the wrong, inappropriate things at the wrong times, for example:

Girl: People tell me I clean up quite nicely.
Me: Oh, do you? That’s quite surprising.

How I wish I could use backspace while talking.

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About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.

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