Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. A Great Refrain. But No Way To Talk.
By Erica and Karen
Have you noticed that just about everyone is saying “yeah, yeah, yeah?” All the time. In just about every context. It’s annoying. And we’re not even sure what it means. In fact we think it means nothing. And totally undercuts any effort to have presence.
One might think it is intended to express agreement with what someone else is saying. And, maybe, sometimes it is—although we can think of better ways to express that thought. More often, though, it seems to be used to cut someone off. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I already know that. “Yeah, yeah, yeah”, that’s not even close to relevant. Or—not interested. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” you idiot. Whatever it is, it’s not respectful. Or informative.
This is not the only verbal affectation that annoys. Take the word “like”—perhaps the most overused word in the English language. Bad enough its improper substitution for the word “as.” Far worse its insertion every third word in every sentence, as in: “I was like really tired, like, and then she like got aggravated like at me and I like lost my temper, like, and then she like stormed off and then like like like.” What is that?
And then, of course, there is uptalk. Declarative sentences becoming questions. Intonation communicating that the speaker is not sure whereof she speaks or needs affirmation from someone else before committing to the thought. This is especially dangerous for women, signalling a lack of confidence that can destroy credibility. Questions are just that. Sentences that are intended to say something are not questions. There’s absolutely no reason to confuse the two.
Finally, there is the phrase, “I need you to …” That one has even made its way on to Grace and Frankie. For some inexplicable reason, those words seem to have replaced, “It would be great if you could ….” or “I would really appreciate it if ….” Maybe the sentiment is intended as an ask rather than a demand, but the use of a phrase that is so “I” centric is counterproductive.
We’re so perfect. If only everyone would emulate us!