A new phrase has entered our world to guide small talk conversations and in seeking acknowledgement or even agreement.
Sentences, in the past, have been tied together with a dangling “so” (aka Grandma…”Well she died, so…how are you?”) or drawn out “yeah” (aka Lumberg in Office Space, “Yeeeaah, the TPS reports need a cover sheet”).
We also had phrases to indicate one’s agreement with a thought or to acknowledge the statement. They included, “Okay?” “Know what I mean?” “Understand?” “Hear what I’m saying?” or “Ja feel?” Even if you may not have meant it, by using these phrases, they did ask a question. They were seeking a common understanding.
The phrase of the new generation for guiding conversation, acknowledgement and agreement is, “Right.” I’ve intentionally not put a question mark, because while it may look like an interrogative this is much more statement than question. The full translation to this one word would be, “Whatever I just said is correct.” “Right.”
Here is a simple example. “Are we going to the store today?” verses “We are going to the store today, right.” The second is much more of a statement. Just a few years ago that may have been asked as, “We are going to the store, okay?” It is seeking agreement verses making a decision.
That is a fairly simple example. It gets complicated when making a statement of opinion. “Trump is crazy, right” or “This weather, right” or “She just goes on and on, right.”
The “right” is not offered with a pause. It is a expressway bridge. There isn’t even time for a head nod in these situations. When the word is used, it’s not to draw you into the conversation but just to make a statement. This really isn’t a conversation, right.
This is more than just a single word addition in standard sentence vocabulary. This is a statement to a widespread and strong movement that says everybody is entitled to their opinion and that opinion isn’t up for discussion or reason. By the way, I’m not making a statement about whether that is right or wrong (ironic). Shoot, the very polite and accepting Canadians have been doing this for years with, “Eh.”
In a conversation if you ask, “Understand?” or “Okay?” or “You know what I mean?” you run the risk of getting the response, “No” or “No, that is not okay” or “Help me understand.” Most of us do not have the time, desire or actual undergirding to actually have that conversation. We aren’t interested.
So listen for it. You’ll hear it and it will make you ask about the person, opinion, community, common discourse, our society and world…right.