If you have a friend that you talk to on a regular basis, either over coffee or gchat, you’ll start to notice certain words that she uses. You have your own signature words, too, even though you may not even realize it.
Matthew J.X. Malady explores fingerprint words this week in Slate. How do we adopt them? How should we feel when “our” words get picked up by the masses?
“There is a lot of ambivalence there,” he says. “On the one hand we like that people admire or respect our choices. And to some extent we like being a leader. But there’s something also uncomfortable about people mimicking us. We want people to say, ‘Oh, that’s great,’ but not to start imitating us.”