Как меняется язык людей с возрастом?

автор: Денис Песков

How does language change as people age?

Computer analyses of the texts yielded large and sometimes unexpected findings. When writing about emotional topics, the younger and older participants used strikingly different words.

Perhaps more impressive was the emotional tone of the young versus older writers. Consistent with the survey research, older people used more positive emotion words and younger people expressed more negative feelings. The differences became apparent by the age of forty but exploded among the oldest age group.

What makes these findings so intriguing is that all people were asked to write about some of the most troubling experiences of their entire lives. Younger people could dredge up an impressive number of dark words to express their pain. As writers got older and older, their negative emotion vocabulary diminished and their positive emotion word count skyrocketed.

…[we studied] the collected works of ten novelists, poets, and playwrights over the last four centuries who wrote extensively over the course of their lives. With this group of authors, we simply tracked their language use as they got older. Overall, eight of the ten authors showed the same age-related language patterns that we found in our other projects (the two exceptions were Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens).

One final note of interest about the language of age and sex: You may have noticed that older people often use function words like men and younger people tend to use them like women. This isn’t some kind of statistical fluke. These patterns hold up across cultures, languages, and centuries. Interestingly, it’s not that women start to talk like men and men just stay the same. Rather, men and women usually have parallel changes. For example, at ages eight to fourteen, about 19% of girls’ words are pronouns, compared with 17% for boys. By the time they reach seventy, the rates drop to 15% for women and 12% for men.

Excerpt From: James W. Pennebaker. “The Secret Life of Pronouns.” Bloomsbury USA.