'Simpler, smaller words make more effective communication'

Using big words to extend one's meaning in the right context can be a sign of intelligence, provided it is balanced by attention on who one is speaking to, and the level of interaction one is engaging in.

This is according to UCT Professor of Linguistics Rajend Mesthrie, who spoke to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo about people who use big English words unnecessarily.

I think there is a feeling that if you can express something simpler with smaller words, rather than with long bombastic terminology, then that is more effective communication

Professor Rajend Mesthrie, Professor of Linguistics at UCT

Professor Mesthrie says that the modernising ways in which people communicate has made typical communication between people more casual.

He says that it has become easier to notice when people speak in a language which is of a higher level than normal.

In the early twenty first century we are definitely having to revise our notions of good communicative practice, and I think its fair to say that the communicative mode has become much more informal, as compared to a hundred years ago

Professor Rajend Mesthrie, Professor of Linguistics at UCT

Professor Mesthrise says that when communicating with a lighter audience, whether it is through speaking or writing, one has a duty to be clear as possible.

Intelligence is not something tied up necessarily to an IQ in a test situation. It really is about being able to interact and communicate what you have to say, and to taylor it to different contexts and to different audiences

Professor Rajend Mesthrie, Professor of Linguistics at UCT

Listen to the conversation below:

Read More
'Haiti is the missing piece in the AU'

'Haiti is the missing piece in the AU'

Ambassador of Haiti to South Africa Jacques Baril describes Haiti's historic relationship with the African continent.

'Having sex will not make you cleverer'

'Having sex will not make you cleverer'

Neurologist Professor Girish Modi describes the effect of sex on one's memory.

Money Matters: Understanding an endowment policy

Money Matters: Understanding an endowment policy

Discovery's Head of Legal Services Harry Joffe describes on #NightTalk relevant information about endowment policies.

How to survive a hostile job interview

How to survive a hostile job interview

Recruitment specialist Candice Martin describes how one can get past a hostile job interview

'State must apologise and compensate Marikana families' - legal representative

'State must apologise and compensate Marikana families' - legal representative

SERI's Nomzamo Zondo describes the process the families of injured and killed Marikana miners have gone through to get compensation from the state.

Recognising the experience of women in South African mines

Recognising the experience of women in South African mines

Dr Asanda Benya has done work to put under the spotlight the role of women in the occupational culture of South African mines.

Popular articles
Police shoot at crowd of immigrants with rubber bullets (arrests 136 people)

Police shoot at crowd of immigrants with rubber bullets (arrests 136 people)

"As we speak there’s another standoff in Sunnyside, " says EWN's Barry Bateman.

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

Vaal Dam about to reach 100% capacity

Vaal Dam about to reach 100% capacity

A few months ago the dam was only 27% full.

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

M&G reports that Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane declared an intergovernmental dispute against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Violence breaks out in Atteridgeville amid #XenoMarch

Violence breaks out in Atteridgeville amid #XenoMarch

Tensions are high in Atteridgeville as a group calling itself Mamelodi Concerned Residents prepares to march against immigrants.

Where is that corrupt bastard? - EFF MP to Brian Molefe

Where is that corrupt bastard? - EFF MP to Brian Molefe

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe was sworn in as a Member of Parliament replacing Abram Mudau this week.

New transfer cost threshold an unwise move - property expert

New transfer cost threshold an unwise move - property expert

What does the Finance Minister's announcement on transfer duty threshold really mean for home buyers?

'Engrish' never loved us: 30 words listeners struggle to pronounce

'Engrish' never loved us: 30 words listeners struggle to pronounce

Worcestershire or "Wooster" sauce? The Queen's language can be over-rated and hard to get right! Listeners chuckle at themselves.

Budget 2017 and tax: The good (there is some), the bad and the ugly

Budget 2017 and tax: The good (there is some), the bad and the ugly

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews TaxTim cofounder Marc Sevitz.