I.4.6 Sharing the Same Language

Another powerful indicator of being entangled is using the same or at least similar words to portray the same event. Members of the same tribe use the same words to describe what they see and think. In his play Pygmalion, Bernhard Shaw describes the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of linguistics in highly class-conscious UK just before the first World War. After a chance encounter with foul-mouthed flower girl Eliza, whom he overhears swearing in the worst British underclass dialect, Higgins enters into a wager with Colonel Pickering, another upper-class Briton interested in linguistics. Higgins commits to converting the flower girl Eliza into an upper-class girl, fit to be a duchess, simply by teaching her how to speak like one. After much turmoil Higgins succeeds in this endeavor having her accepted as a full member of the British upper class, just by changing the way she speaks, and the words she uses. This illustrates that sharing similar words to describe similar events is enough to identify membership among entangled members of a tribe.

The same is true for spouses, who start using each other’s words and expressions, while also mimicking each other’s gestures and behavior. Children start using the words and expressions of their parents, greatly contributing to setting them up for future success or failure in their adult lives. In a nutshell, the way how parents talk to their children, using many loving words, or using fewer mostly negative words, is one of the key predictors of how much children will learn much later in life, and how resilient they will be towards failure, this is discussed in-depth in section I.5.4.

As we have demonstrated in our research, this propensity to use the same words and expressions extends to consumer tribes and fans of a particular brand. This property of members of the same consumer or political tribe using similar words can be used to discover the personality characteristics of individuals. We have built a system called tribefinder, whose technical details will be described in section I.5 to automatically identify members of a tribe based on their word usage.


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