The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Palin(drome) goes back and forth

Posted on October 6, 2008 by

According to a mysterious “language monitoring service” cited by CNN, Sarah Palin , the American Republican vice presidential candidate, spoke at a tenth grade level (due to her astute use of “passive deflections”) at last week’s debate, while her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden managed only to graduate from the 8th. The analysis however championed form over content: the web is abuzz with lamentations on the distance between the sign and the signified in Palin’s spoken word. Palin’s particular brand of talk has come to be know as “Palindrome“, on par with the “Bushism” or “Dubyaspeak“. The blogosphere has particularly glommed onto her use of the term “maverick”, which she used at least six times in the televised debate, sparking discontent among the Mavericks of Texas themselves, who have come out in the New York Times to defend the word’s etymology and wrest it back from the frontwards-backwards nature of the Palindrome.


Interesting. Been trying to learn a new language for a while now so this is highly relevant! Thank you.

[…] posting last week about the CNN story proclaiming that Sarah Palin spoke at a higher grade level than Joe Biden, I was curious about the organization that made this assessment, and what they thought […]

It’s a normative grammarian site called the Modern Language Monitor (link).

Over the past few days on the campaign trail, the meaning of Sarah Palin’s words have been clear: Barack Obama is a foreign, scary, “other” . . . and, by the way, he’s black. What’s amazing, though, is that — for once in a very long time — the news media not only is noticing, but it’s actually calling the candidate(s) on it. In particular, an Associated Press analysis that called Palin’s remarks “racially-tinged” has been quoted widely, much of the rest of the press has picked it up, and — for the first time in a long time — Americans aren’t being distracted from the imploding economy. You’ve got to wonder, though, if the economy were only terrible and not approaching Great Depression levels, if Palin’s droning wouldn’t be more effective.

Leave a Reply