Monday, September 13, 2004

Linguistic Framing
... as it applies to golf advice.

I think I need help. Last week, my uncle sent me the link to the excerpt from Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, which got me thinking about linguistic framing somewhere in the back of my mind.

Yesterday, I went to tag along as Lee played golf for the first time in a year with his dad and his cousin's husband. For obvious reasons, they spent a lot of time giving him advice, most of which consisted of repeating, "Keep your head down." My brain, always seeking to entertain itself, proceeded to analyze the following situation:

Lee is taking a few practice swings. Each one is fine, and the only advice he receives is, "Keep your head down."

Lee then moves up to the ball, prepares to swing, and receives the advice, "Don't watch the ball!" What does he do? Lifts his head up to watch the ball, despite the fact that for the 3 previous swings he didn't lift his head at all.

My brain concluded that this was a linguistic framing problem, and I spent the rest of the golf outing pondering whether one could do a linguistic analysis of successful vs. non-successful verbal coaching strategies.

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