inarticulate youth?

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 13 22:27:23 UTC 2008

If "inarticulate" means 'unable to speak in a way that is intelligible to 
one's hearers', then it is surely the case that inarticulateness is to some great 
extent a function of (a) the degree of shrared linguistic and cultural 
knowledge between speaker and hearer and (b) how comfortable the speaker is in a 
given situation. When adolescents speak to adults--especially strangers in some 
kind of position of authority--they tend to be intimidated, especially about 
their grammar and vocabulary. There is no evidence that, when adolescents speak 
to each other, they are less articulate than adults speaking to adults.

One of the clich├ęs of literature is the adult whose attempts at articulate 
conversation with adolescents is, like, awkward, clumsy, and a general waste of 

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