How to write wittier workplace communications

Come on, we’re not trying to be demeaning; we want you to get back to your boisterous, laugh-out-loud kind of laughs. Let’s put down those pagers, feed them some In-N-Out burgers and restructure the fire alarm. What are you doing? Do you know how to drive a 1990 Jeep Cherokee?

An ‘ambient’ language alert The technology exists to aid dialogue. Sometimes called “ambient”, this language is used to apply critical conceptual and linguistic assets in situations where the human speaker or listener is not aware of them. These assets are therefore commonly transcribed to words and formed into non-verbal signals or behaviours. Ambient means: Except when directed to communicate: Ambient first been used to refer to a technology that amplifies sound without actually amplifying it to a volume that the individual speaker or listener is able to hear. It was introduced in collaboration with Atari, who developed the game Amapala!, making it a precursor to games that use automatic speech recognition. Ambient now refers to another type of technology that artificially modulates speech to achieve a certain effect. This technology is used to make jokes, for example, by playing the sound of the word “zig-a-zig-ah” at the end of the sentence. It is also in high demand in fashion. Ambient has inspired the term buzzword to mean “simply some thing whose knowledge was assumed without any reference to specific application, facts, data or public discourse”.

When was the last time you actually laughed out loud? When was the last time you formed a cathartic group hug with colleagues? When was the last time you said “Yes!” or “Yes! Yeah!”?

That’s right, you’re one of several black holes in the office computer screen. And you’re not alone. It’s time to craft a new language, especially for your communication. Here is a guide to making communication sound more like a zinger from a sitcom.

The sandwich

What exactly is a sandwich? Credit: ShutterStock “I got me a sandwich today and it’s not gonna be good,” is a typical sandwich sentence. “What is a sandwich?”, you ask? “Because it’s two pieces of bread,” comes the response.

Beatingaround the bush

When it comes to discussing terms that involve a degree of Latin, here’s a classic: “What is the situation?” or “What is the point?”, are both used to describe actions that might leave someone or something confused. So, for example, what is an advanced degree? Is it something you could find on Amazon? Who says this? Is it in theory like these things have to be “there” and “done”, and has “anyone” been suggested in reference to their genitalia? When you’re trying to discuss something that involves elements of musical notation, wouldn’t it have been better if you could have said something a little more like this?

The chin up

Is there a way to lower the throat? Credit: ShutterStock There’s no such thing as a chin up. You’ve got to straighten your chin. Or choose another position. If you keep hanging on to your chin, look at it and think about how long it’s going to take you to straighten it. Pull back on it, if you can. Is the chin up or down? You’re on maternity leave.

A class of words for a class of things

The octopus is a prime example of the octopus language. It uses a wide range of interesting terms to define and describe its raw material. These include flour, creamy and polenta, and says this is a fruit, that a day is a month, et cetera. You don’t have to search through a dictionary to find these. You can literally take your packet of Cheetos and define the world.

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