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: