Some dead horses you can’t stop beating. So it is with me and Global Language Monitor. Their analysis is terribly crummy and makes me incredibly angry — and yet I just can’t stop reading it. But, out of concern for both my own sanity and yours, I promise this will be the last time I talk about GLM for a while — not least because my posts about GLM are amongst my worst. It’s just too hard to write coherently when the whole time your brain is shouting out disparaging comments about the research integrity of the person you’re writing about.
But I digress. GLM released an analysis of the final presidential debate this morning, and it bears commenting:
“Obama’s significantly higher use of the passive voice combined with his frequent use of the word ‘I’ perhaps indicated an impatience with his opponent last witnessed in his debates with Hillary Clinton.”
I don’t know how I act when I am being impatient. “Impatiently”, I suppose you could say, but I don’t know what the symptoms of that are. I figured they were things like tapping one’s foot, checking one’s watch, scowling, and the like. Linguistically, I thought the cues were things like faster pacing, shorter sentences, louder delivery, and phrases like “C’mon”, “Let’s go”, and, if I remember my youth correctly, “Fine, I’m leaving, enjoy your stay in the mall, find your own way home.” But I was clearly mistaken! The real key lies in increased usage of passives and first-person pronouns. Because nothing says “impatience” like saying “I am being consumed by impatience.”