The Annoying “Riiiiiight” in Faculty Workshops

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14 Responses

  1. Edward Cantu says:

    I notice this is a current habit among intellectuals generally; Chris Hayes on MSNBC, a super sharp guy, has this habit to the extreme. It reminds me of the “Yale ‘so'” discussed a while ago on Prawfs. Use them both in one sentence and you’ve got yourself an annoyance sandwich. 

  2. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    Guilty as charged. I think I started it as way of seeing whether my audience was on the same page as me (glances around while saying “right”). And it’s better than “uuuuhmmm,” which is a very unattractive noise.

  3. I think intellectuals are accustomed to being the smartest people present. Growing up, they must’ve gotten used to making sure others were on the same page as they. Several of my law professors have this habit, and I’m not the only one in my section who’s noticed. At least it’s better than the uncertain, insecure “anyway”!

  4. VAP says:

    I surprised myself by inserting this “right” into my job talk– I have no idea where it came from and I don’t think I’ve used it before. It was more like 4 times in 20 minutes than 4 times per sentence, though. But for me it probably served the purpose Miriam noted and replaced the valley-girl uptick.

    So it’s more like: The corporation has an office in the state, with eight salesmen and eleven desks, so the corporation is really “in” New York State, right?

    Subtext: Are you with me through here? Does that make sense?

  5. Bruce Boyden says:

    For an entirely different effect, try replacing “right” with “eh?”

  6. Jordan J. Paust says:

    Right! and also for Canadians, “eh”

  7. Orin Kerr says:

    I’m still mulling over the recent law professor trend of using the phrase “drill down” to refer to any effort to be specific about anything.

  8. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    I’ve heard “drill down” as part of business speak but when used in that context it means you are going to get into the specifics of an issue. Strange, Orin, that you seem to see it used in law for the opposite proposition.

  9. Junior Prof says:

    I’m not sure it is as annoying as the need to “interrogate”

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