Blatherskites Unite: It’s National Babbling Day!

How many times have you sat in a meeting, at dinner, at a family reunion, a baseball game, at Starbucks—wherever—and there’s someone blathering on. And on. And ON! It would be one thing if these people added something truly valuable to the conversation but they usually don’t. In fact, half the time we don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. The lack of cell phone etiquette makes the problem exponentially worse. It’s like being surrounded by white noise, except that you can actually HEAR it!

Human beings generally go through the babbling stage as babies and then move on to cognitive skills. Those who haven’t made the language leap and who continue to babble into adulthood are called ‘blatherskites.” For them, and for others who simply want to gush forth with gibberish, unfettered by social convention, there is National Babbling Day on October 21.

We know that babbling has benefits for babies. At around six months old, babies’ vocal tract begin to mature and they start vocalizing more systematically, although they are still not forming actual words. Up to this point, they have heard a variety of sounds and are making their first attempts at intonation and rhythm. Babbling prepares babies for speech, enables them to interact with their surroundings (satisfying their growing curiosity) and it’s FUN!

So why do adults do it too? Parents of babies babble back at their children, which helps them grow their vocal skills. But let’s face it; some people just can’t stop talking. They can turn a one-sentence statement or a simple question into a dissertation. These are the people you never want to ask “How are you doing?” because instead of the “Fine, thanks” that passes as the social norm, these people will actually tell you how they’re doing and who wants that when you’ve got a meeting in 5 minutes!!

With social media, texting, and other ways to avoid verbal interaction, it’s amazing that we still have so many blatherskites anymore. But it’s nice to know they have their own day every year to pontificate without shame. Share this blog with your favorite babbler!