Linguistics for Small Business with Daniel Hieber 

What we should know about Linguistics – the study of human language – as it relates to our small business and careers with Daniel Hieber.

Danny Hieber - Linguistics Expert

Daniel shares some of his knowledge of Linguistics – the study of human language – particularly in the context of small business, including how our first impressions (upon customer or clients) are influenced by our accents.

Daniel Hieber is a research linguist working to document and revitalize endangered languages, while studying the crosslinguistic patterns we see across the world’s languages. He works primarily with the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana to help them revitalize their once-dormant language.

Daniel earned his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and prior to graduate school he worked for Rosetta Stone’s Endangered Language Program to create language-learning software with Native American language communities.

Daniel lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

  • What is the study of Linguistics?
  • Where did you passion for language come from? What did you envision you would do after university?
  • How many languages are you fluent in?
  • What made you interested in the Chitimacha language (Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana)?
  • What can we learn from languages that are fading or have disappeared?
  • Please share some of your observation about Language in Business versus Social Contexts.
  • Why do people in the United States generally think a person with a British accent is more intelligent or proper?
  • Filler words: Poor speaking skills or linguistically useful? (Useful to hold the floor.)
  • Is there an accent or version of English that is considered most effective for communicating with the widest audience?
  • Perception of Southern accents (also perhaps a heavy New York or Brooklyn accent?)?
  • What can you share with us about the “Mid-Atlantic accent” (American-British hybrid) adopted by some movie starts during the golden age of Hollywood (and also taught at affluent private schools in the East?)?
  • Any other observations or tips on how we can communicate more effectively in a business context?
  • What’s next for you?

Key Takeaway:
Your attitudes about the way people speak are never really attitudes about language, they are always attitudes about people. So don’t let language bias you. Remember that everyone speaks slightly differently. Focus on what you know about the person, rather than the way that person speaks. Embrace the variation we have in language in the workplace, and appreciate that diversity rather than fight against it.

Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.

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