Which words do people use the most?

These 13 words should be used to sound stylish and become more successful at work

Language is not the only, but the most important means of communication between people. It tells us where our counterpart comes from - which country? Which region? And what social class? More and more people are therefore consciously manipulating their choice of words in order to appear more educated in the job and thus climb the career ladder faster. Today we would like to reveal to you which words are really suitable for giving your language more style and which are not.

1. The mother tongue is more than German, English or French
2. Definition: educational disadvantage
3. Professional success and language are directly related
4. Language manipulation for more success?
5. "Stylish language" - what does that mean?
6. 13 words for a more stylish expression

The mother tongue is more than German, English or French

When we talk about the mother tongue, most people think of German, Croatian or Spanish.

"Mother tongue is the language learned in early childhood by parents or other close people without formal instruction."

But the mother tongue also shapes the child's grammar, sound design and choice of words. For this reason, it allows conclusions to be drawn about the speaker's social class. Although it is quite possible to break out of a social class through the appropriate education, which in turn is recognizable by an improved vocabulary and language use, this is unfortunately rarely the case due to the educational disadvantage.

Definition: educational disadvantage

Educational disadvantage is the effect that people with lower social and financial status are disadvantaged in acquiring education, which makes it difficult to move up to a better social class. Factors such as a person's gender or cultural resources can also lead to their educational disadvantage. However, in this article the focus should be placed on the language. The formal equality of opportunity valid in Germany only exists on paper, while a person's language can lead to conscious or unconscious discrimination, for example in working life.

"Equal opportunities means
that everyone gets their chance to prove their inability. "

Sounds complicated, but it's actually quite simple: Those who speak the “mother tongue of a lower level of education” are often consciously or unconsciously discriminated against in their professional life when making decisions such as promotion. This makes hierarchical and thus also social advancement more difficult. People with the "mother tongue of a higher level of education" are meanwhile more or less automatically more successful - solely because of their vocabulary and language use.

Professional success and language are directly related

Certainly we in Western Europe are further ahead than many other countries in terms of equal opportunities. Nevertheless, the French sociologists Bourdieu and Passeron were able to make the following results in their studies in the 1960s: Children from poorer social classes

  • already show differences in language development at the age of two compared to their peers from higher social classes.
  • later in their childhood they are more likely to attend a “poorer” school - depending on the country-specific school system. And that with the same intelligence and competence, mind you.
  • have more problems acquiring school knowledge quickly and sustainably.

Success at school is therefore directly related to the child's language skills and thus to the child's social class. It goes without saying that this also has an impact on your later career. In most cases, children born in the lower class remain in the lower class for their entire life; the same can be observed in the middle and upper classes. Exceptions prove the rule. The British sociologist Basil Bernstein compared language samples from different social classes. He came to the following conclusion: If a person has the same intelligence (IQ), there are differences depending on their social class in

  • Vocabulary,
  • Record length,
  • Pause length and
  • Word length.

He concluded from this: The shorter the length of words, sentences and pauses, the worse the social class of the speaker. He also asked the test subjects for synonyms for the word "efficient":

  • The respondents from the lower social classes named, for example, ambitious, sociable, friendly or polite.
  • Those from a better social class, on the other hand, were honest, orderly, strong and healthy.

This proves the differences in language usage depending on social origin. Not only does the vocabulary itself differ, but social classes also assign different meanings to certain terms.

Language manipulation for more success?

So if the language of a person is on the one hand related to their origin and on the other hand can influence their success in professional life positively or negatively, the question arises: Can this mechanism possibly be reversed? So can you improve your chances of success in your job by manipulating your language in a targeted manner? In fact, you can at least partially demonstrate belonging to a group through your language. Hardly anyone over the age of 25 will use the word “YOLO” and what is meant by “abdominal” is something that almost only members of the medical industry know. This can also work with the social upper class: The more stylish your language, the better your chances of success in your job and thus also your chances of advancement, not only in the hierarchy, but also in the social class.

"Stylish language" - what does that mean?

Style is a word that divides spirits. Many of you will think of fashion now, and tastes are known to vary. There is also the swimming style or an architectural style. So how should style be related to language and how do we want to know which choice of words is "stylish" and which is not? The different meanings of style are broad and also applicable to language. So today we want to focus on the following definition of style:

“The term“ style ”comes from the Latin“ stilus ”, the writing implement, and originally referred to the individual characteristics of a person when writing - be it with regard to their handwriting or the expression and choice of words. In the context of language, style is therefore understood as the characteristics of a written or spoken word, sentence or text that make it unique. Your language style is nothing more than your individual way of using language, forming sentences and choosing words. "

In principle, the style is a neutral, i.e. value-free term. Nevertheless, a positive association is now made under “stylish” and a negative association under “stylish”. In our case, the “stylish” language is attributed to the social upper class and the “stylish” language to the social lower class. Stylish language suggests a better social background and increases - in the mechanism already described - your career opportunities. But how can you "improve" the style of your language?

13 words for a more stylish expression

As already mentioned, not only does the vocabulary differ depending on the social class, but also the length of sentences, words and pauses varies. So if you really want to adopt the language of the "upper class", you should make sure that sentences, pauses and words are as long as possible. Sounds complicated? It is - and therefore quickly appears artificial. That is exactly the problem when you start trying to "manipulate" your mother tongue: You lose your authenticity and the effect quickly turns into the opposite. Anyone who uses words in an inappropriate context, pronounces them incorrectly or uses them obviously to show off will quickly shoot themselves out and make themselves the mockery of colleagues and superiors - which would be more of a hindrance than a benefit for your career.

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Nevertheless, you should definitely avoid vulgar language in your professional life, know the technical jargon of your industry and improve your rhetoric. The latter has a great influence on your image, which in turn can determine success or failure in your job.

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For this it can be sufficient to integrate some of the following 13 words into your everyday language usage. Used correctly, they make you look more intellectual, professional and "stylish":

  1. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a special form of attention, especially towards oneself.
  2. Adaptation: The adaptation describes the adaptation, for example of an organism to its living environment or also of a document to a target group. It is not to be confused with adoption.
  3. Ambition: If in the interview you are asked about your ambitions to apply for the advertised position, you should be able to understand and answer this question without any problems. The ambition describes a goal-oriented striving or a special form of ambition up to a thirst for power.
  4. Authenticity: The word has already been used and stands for the authenticity or undisguisedness of a person.
  5. Deficit: The deficit describes a shortage or a financial shortfall.
  6. Difference: Similar to the deficit, difference denotes not only the result of a subtraction in a mathematical sense, but also a shortfall. It is also commonly used to paraphrase a disagreement.
  7. Initiative: One word that works well in every application is initiative. But you should of course also know what that actually means: It is a special form of independence. So you take on personal responsibility or become active on your own without needing external stimulus.
  8. Functionality: A nice long word that describes nothing more and nothing less than the ability to perform a certain function.
  9. Hierarchy: With your new "stylish" vocabulary, you are sure to want to move up the hierarchy of your company. For this you should know this word, which is used as a synonym for the ranking.
  10. Imply: This verb expresses that someone implies something without actually saying it. A simple example would be: Suppose we claim that you have a "styleless" language. With that we would imply that you come from the lower social class.
  11. Initiate: Another nice verb with the first letter "I" is initiate. When you initiate something, you initiate an action. For example, you initiate a conflict between two colleagues with a tasteless remark. Synonyms are therefore stimulate, initiate, induce, give an impulse or set something in motion.
  12. Innovation: Innovation is a term that you will certainly come across more often in your professional life. It describes a process of innovation, often - but not only - in a technical sense. It stands for a reform, an innovation or renewal or a controlled change. Colloquially, the innovation describes the invention or idea itself. Applied correctly, however, the innovation is only its concrete implementation, for example in a product, a service or a process.
  13. Stimulus: This strange-sounding word has also already been used. There is actually nothing more to it than the description of a stimulus that triggers a certain reaction. Synonyms for the stimulus are incentive, incentive, impulse or driving force.

From now on you can understand the 13 terms listed in your professional life and use them correctly yourself. However, it is up to you whether and when this makes sense. While some are absorbed in such a self-presentation, others prefer to rely on authenticity and thus their original mother tongue. In the interests of your personal development, however, it in no way does any harm to reflect on your language habits. For your professional success, it is important to banish vulgar language from your vocabulary and to put foreign words - if you use them at all - in the correct context. If used incorrectly, they can otherwise quickly cause embarrassment. As is so often the case in life, you just have to find the right balance.

Or what do you think? Do you pay attention to your own language or that of your colleagues, superiors, business partners and customers in your professional life? What do you think language says about a person? Do you advocate manipulating your own language habits in favor of your career? Or are you more of an advocate of absolute authenticity? Thank you for your contribution in the comments!

Photo credit: iStock.com/shapecharge


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