Saturday, 19 February 2011

Phonics, Phonies and Sales Jargon

Reading English and hearing English is a daily challenge in selling. see alsoClick for past post on Evolving English Exhibition at British Museum.

The thought below perhaps encapsulates the daily challenge for many of us in selling when our communication has floundered.

“ I know that you believe you understand what you think I said but, I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant!!!!!!

In selling we use words with clients speaking on the phone, face to face or presenting to a group.

We write ( type) using words in our emails, proposals quotes, blogs and texts

We read and interpret other people’s words whether in a request for proposal RFP, answering customer enquiries, handling objections etc.. All are crucial part to the art and science of selling.

Words in the form of questions help us find out their needs and wants and convey messages to our clients. We use them to explain rational processes. We use words to motivate their emotions and persuade them.

So the current concern about reading standards of UK children and the teaching of reading is of interest to Salespeople as well as to concerned parents and teachers. There are also consequences for the workplace see below in the CBI study.( Scroll down to end of post for thought provoking figures)

Indeed even for we adult salespeople, buyers in the Buyers Views survey of Salespeople do express opinions on how they feel Salespeople communicate and the quality of the channels they communicate to Customers.

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

There is a proposed test from the Department of Education (D oE)where ‘non words’ are being introduced in the reading test for 5-7 years old.

The trick ‘non words’ have been inserted into the test to check pupil’s ability to decode words using phonics. This is the reading system by which children sound out words using letter sounds.

Nick Gibb education secretary argues that there is support in this view by high-quality academic evidence from across the world - from Scotland and Australia to the National Reading Panel in the US - which points to synthetic phonics being the most effective method for teaching literacy for all children, especially those aged five to seven.

Other experts disagree such as the UK literacy Association
Click for UK Literacy association

The English language, they argue is not phonically consistent as say German or Finnish.
"The D o E test is trying to control all the different variables so that things like meaning don't get in the way. "

Of course not all words in English are decodable( is that a word by the way?) by phonics.

(Earl as 'pearl' not as in year 'yeer', or ear! Court as in Caught!)

There are many words with which we have to use a 'look and say' approach. Just think of common words such as 'the' and 'once'

Even to address the Minister for Education whose surname is ‘Gove’ which sounds like the word ‘cove’ would be problematic as it does not rhyme with ‘love’!

Some supposed non words to be used in the test have already been scooped up by the press

For example Koob

So for fun I googled ( is that a non word for the DoE test I wonder?) the word koob.

( Comedy as in 'comma' not 'come')

According to the urban dictionary –

Koob happens whilst you are consuming something, when you get an overwhelming feeling that you don't want to finish what you started, but you do anyway for some reason.

For example:
If you are drinking wine at a meal in a restaurant, and decide to order another bottle half way through which you don’t really want any more but then you finish it anyway because you don't want to waste it.
"Oh wow I just koobed “

So Let's here it ( sorry "hear it!") for non-words

( Is yogurti a non word according to the D o E test?)

A Graphic designer Luke Ngakane, , uncovered hundreds of 'non words' as part of a project for Kingston University, London ( my Alma mater) His project was reported in the newspapers in August 2010.

Apparently there is a secret portal owned by the Oxford University Press that holds millions of 'non-words' for everyday activities, recently submitted for use in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) that didn't make the dictionary.

Creating a dictionary of their own, the words will remain dormant unless they enter common parlance in the future.

Here are some non words which maybe should become officially accepted by the "powers that be" to use a King James Version of The Bible expression.

Maybe some will become common parlance in the selling arena if not the Oxford English dictionary:- As a peppier ( see below) might say:-

( is the acronym TGI a non word?)

Accordionated - being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time Asphinxiation - being sick to death of unanswerable puzzles or riddles
Blogish - a variety of English that uses a large number of initialisms (?), frequently used on blogs
Dringle - the watermark left on wood caused by a glass of liquid.
Dunandunate - the overuse of a word or phrase that has recently been added to your own vocabulary
Earworm - a catchy tune that frequently gets stuck in your head
Espacular - something especially spectacular
Freegan - someone who rejects consumerism, usually by eating discarded food

Fumb - your large toe
Furgle - to feel in a pocket or bag for a small object such as a coin or key
Glocalization - running a business according to both local and global considerations
Griefer - someone who spends their online time harassing others
Headset jockey - a telephone call centre worker
Lexpionage - the sleuthing of words and phrases
Locavor - a person who tries to eat only locally grown or produced food
Museum head - feeling mentally exhausted and no longer able to take in information.
Nonversation - a worthless conversation, wherein nothing is explained or otherwise elaborated upon
Nudenda - an unhidden agenda
Oninate - to overwhelm with post-dining breath
Optotoxical - a look that could kill, normally from a parent or spouse
Parrotise - a haven for exotic birds especially green ones
Peppier - a waiter whose sole job is to offer diners ground pepper, usually from a large pepper mill
Percuperate - to prepare for the possibility of being ill
Pharming - the practice of creating a dummy website for phishing data
Polkadodge - the dance that occurs when two people attempt to pass each other but move in the same direction

( Never quite sure whether there should be an apostrophe with Houses ever since Lynn Truss wrote her "Eat , Shoots and Leaves" book punctuation is another matter though!)

Pregreening - to creep forwards while waiting for a red light to change
Quackmire - the muddy edges of a duck pond
Scrax - the waxy coating that is scratched off an instant lottery ticket
Smushables - items that must be pack at the top of a bag to avoid being squashed
Spatulate - removing cake mixture from the side of a bowl with a spatula
Sprog - to go faster then a jog but slower then a sprint
Sprummer - when summer and spring time can't decide which is to come first, usually hot one day then cold the next
Stealth-geek - someone who hides their nerdy interests while maintaining a normal outward appearance
Vidiot - someone who is inept at the act of programming video recording equipment
Whinese - a term for the language spoken by children on lengthy trips
Wibble - the trembling of the lower lip just shy of actually crying
Wurfing - the act of surfing the Internet while at work
Wikism - a piece of information that claims to be true but is wildly inaccurate

Xenolexica - a grave confusion when faced with unusual words

Good selling all you fellow Xenolexiconists!

Click for Free Evolving English exhibition at the British library, London closes 3rd April 2011

Serious Point:

Two-fifths of employers surveyed by the CBI had serious concerns about employees’ basic literacy and numeracy skills.

On the literacy side, the main problems are not being able to write in sentences, spell correctly or use accurate grammar.

On the numeracy side, the key issue is the inability to spot simple errors or rogue numbers.

Poor basic skills have a serious impact on customer service according to two-fifths (40%) of employers, and lower productivity according to a third (34%) .

Both issues have damaging implications for business performance and around a quarter of employers are investing in remedial literacy and numeracy training.
Click for National Literacy trust Adult literacy

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