How do conversations work? We think we are free to say what we want, but this is not so; our day-to-day chats as well as our longer utterances are governed by rules we are not conscious of but obey implicitly. The differences between male and female choices in conversation are even embedded in their grammatical patterns, an area of current detailed linguistic study. The same is true of forensic linguistics which studies the way individuals create identity through language. Linguists have been studying talk ever since computer technology allowed sufficient data to be collected and the results are fascinating. You will never listen to your friends or spouses in the same way again.
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