speaking loudly

Indians are wont at times to speak rather loudly to one another. Now i am not using the phrase ‘speaking loudly’ as an euphemism for arguing, and this is precisely the subject of this short post. It is a widely received idea that nations in warmer climes usually tend to foster choleric temperaments, northern climes producing rather phlegmatic ones; and this is then held responsible for the observed fact that southerners argue and shout more than their, say, scandinavian counterparts do. I wish to propose a somewhat modified version of this theory, one according to which it is not so much the climate that is directly responsible for indians shouting at one another, but that it is rather their close quarters and especially their tight social bonds that are the immediate causes of such expressive outbursts.

To stoop down to the age-old hydraulic metaphor: social pressure is so high, because exerted from just about all sides, that people must incessantly let the steam out by raising their voices at one another. This allows them to both grade the importance they attach to their statement (something northerners do through other means) but also to assert their social position within a very tight and regimented pecking order. By shouting, the southerner creates a necessary and healthy distance between him/herself and the other, a distance which is precisely neither physically nor emotionally permissible and must thus every now and then be vocally called forth.

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2 Comments to “speaking loudly”

  1. I’ve noticed similar in Italian cultures–no?

  2. i would most certainly agree. even amongst poorer americans who have to stick together to get through life.

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