The New York Times recently ran a story on “Elderspeak.” I agreed with the report’s conclusion which showed that “being talked down to” damaged the self image of older people exposed to such language. The trouble is that I am also keen on rescuing the word “Elder” contamination by negative images of aging.
So… I am not too happy with the term being used in this way. After all, the Elders are not using this speech. It is employed by younger people.
* Using a singsong voice, changing pitch and tone, exaggerating words.
* Simplifying the length and complexity of sentences.
* Speaking more slowly.
* Using limited vocabulary.
* Repeating or paraphrasing what has just been said.
* Using terms like “honey” or “dear.”
* Using statements that sound like questions.
More on Elderspeak Here
This led me to look deeper into these kinds of communications. I stumbled upon “communicative predicament of aging.” I’ll be posting more on that predicament later this week.