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Proving my interest in sociolinguistics and perhaps reasons why I would be terrible in this field

Last summer Elise and Eric got me a job at the Grand Rapids call center for Farmers Insurance. My job as a CSA, Customer Service Associate, had me answer phone calls to file insurance claims for people. These claims were mostly for car accidents- and mostly people filing against one of our customers- but also included home insurance. My information would get passed to an adjuster who would then work with the customer and make it all better.

This job had six weeks of training Monday-Friday 2pm-11pm that started in early June. About halfway through training I accepted the French teaching job at GVSU for the fall semester. I learned that I wouldn't be able to reconcile the two schedules but quickly made myself comfortable with the fact that I'd have lots of money spent training me for six weeks and then I would only actually work for four weeks.

I liked most, maybe half really, of the people I trained with and learned with them why the job was decently paid and had a high turnover. Our trainer was a woman from Texas who claimed Japanese was her first language as her family lived in Japan for a time. She also claimed to speak a half dozen other languages, to have studied physics and philosophy at college, her (college prep) high school wanted her to graduate in 10th grade, she scored a 32 on the ACT but struggled in college (a friend in the class blurted out, "Because high school is easy", and the instructor retorted, "No, it's because I partied too much."), her paraplegic husband she got a separation from during my training wasn't allowed to drive her car and that her parents owned a portable toilet rental company. She announced that if she got too tired or angry she'd get her southern accent again. She did hide it well, but she just plain sounded ign't.

On the first day we received white legal pads to take notes and I took lots of notes. Soon, however, my respect for the instructor had fallen so much that I spent most of my time documenting her ridiculous expressions. I've been waiting for enough time to pass since working there to share the sayings I copied down in the notebook. I'm not trying to mock the way she speaks though I was annoyed by it. I like to think I was more annoyed by her annoying personality and not for my superficial aversion to a southern accent and its unique turns of phrase.

turn around and do something: It was always "you turn around and ..." I think I learned "go and do something" but really you can just say "do something".
in which case: The example I quoted was, "Was it December in which case Seattle got all that rain?" She nearly always used "in which case" in place of "that", "who", "when". It really filled me with rage whenever I heard it. This one isn't a 'southern thing' either. It's an "I use word filler" thing.

Before I continue I'll first concede that working in a mind-numbing customer service corporate environment, but especially TRAINING in one, a person can start to use buzzwords repeatedly and even start to just use words as filler. I blame some of this on her work background and not just her ign'nce. I'll continue.

I really got off on her unnecessary usage of "in which case" but I soon noticed that I didn't think I ever heard her use the word "of". She used "over" in place of "of" and in many other constructions I couldn't figure out.
"along the lines over"
"gives examples over"
"explanation over"
"give the information over"
"they're different over how to recognize"
"training consisted over"
"very self-explanatory over why we do this"
"breakdown over"
"give a list over"
"different divisions over deviations"
"make a list over"
"you know basic information over this"
"guessing game over what it's labeled as"
"an estimate over how much"
"keep track over"
"that gives you a bit over what this is"
"makes a difference over how we deal with"

detrimental: The real definition of this word is "causing harm or injury". She used it in the sense of something being "imperative". "The tip card is so detrimentally important to your job", "How detrimental to the company this is" for example.
"as being the person": No notes here, just a stupid thing to say.
"Go online, log into the internet.": Sounded stupid.
"I don't want sued": Some regions in the US will use this construction instead of, "want to be sued". Cf. "needs washing" vs. "needs washed".
"Nine times out of ten typically what ends up happening": Could be shortened to "Usually".
"little and far between": "Few" and far between perhaps?
"I don't like to combobulate your head"
"The roof is being gone": I wish this tense existed.
asterik: She said this word a lot and sometimes we'd have to say it aloud for some reason. I always made it a point to say "asterISK".
verse: instead of versus
"There's a fine line between the difference"
ve HIC le
CE ment: Like the cement pool the Beverly Hillbillies got.
"I'm cheap and I like money a lot."
"Been there. Done did that."
"At this current time.": She said this all the time! Could be shortened to "now".
"hence why"/"hence if": I'm just convinced once a moron discovers this word they use it extensively and incorrectly.
"same kind of difference"
"just as an fyi": This, coupled with her use of fyi as verb ("I just wanna fyi you on this"), filled me with more rage.
"such as, take for example"
"Take a good example of that one.": I can't figure out what that even means
thought process: Everyone says this too much. Redundant.

CATASTROPHE: She never ONCE pronounced this word correctly. She'd try to say cataclysm, catastrophic or words that rhymed with apostrophe, but not the actual word. After a couple tries she'd say, "CAT".

Also, they gave us a company calendar with the stupidest inspirational messages.

Comments

that shit gets me too. When I hear "acrosst" I start sweating.

Alone in a room, laughing my ass off.

this shit is too hilarious! i love the detrimental/imperative thing. so rich!

i get annoyed when people use resume talk: i.e., words or phrases like "environs" or "afforded me" that clearly are not ever supposed to be used outside of a resume or cover letter.

oh my god. this shit is too hilarious. i love the detrimental/imperative thing. rich!

what annoys me is resume talk. that is, when people use words or phrases that you would only write in a cover letter or resume. example: i was at a conference recently and the speaker kept saying "afforded me". like "i was so grateful for the opportunity bc it afforded me". after like the 4th time it started to drive me crazy. "environs" is another word that simply never needs to be spoken.

this has sociolinguist written all over it

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