Are you using submissive language?

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
Are you using submissive language?

In this video, I will teach you to identify whether you have a dominant or submissive style of speaking English. I’ll also teach you how to adapt your speaking style if you wish to be either more assertive (dominant) or obliging (submissive) in the future. If you have a dominant style of speaking English, you are someone who takes control of a situation and who isn’t afraid to ask directly for the things you want. On the other hand, a person who uses submissive language has difficulty putting themselves first in any life situation. If you are someone who speaks English in a submissive way, you may find it difficult to achieve your goals in life, although on the positive side, you may speak in a polite and courteous manner. Can you recognize submissive language? Take the quiz at

Continue to change your behaviour and life by understanding and changing the way you speak by watching these videos next:


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Hey, everyone. In today’s lesson we’re looking at submissive language. „Submissive language” is when you speak in a way that makes you really, really small and not important, and the person to whom you’re speaking is all so special and so amazing, and much more important than you.

An example of a character who uses submissive language is Dobby the House-Elf. Dobby the House-Elf is in all the Harry Potter films. Here is one of Dobby’s quotes, and this is from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. „Dobby is a free house-elf and he can obey anyone he likes, and Dobby will do whatever Harry Potter wants him to do!”

So, what’s interesting about this quote in terms of submissive language is: „Dobby is a free house-elf”, and the thing about the house-elves in Harry Potter is they are like the slaves of some of the wizards; the bad kind of wizards in Harry Potter have house-elves as slaves and they do everything for them. But Dobby is a house-elf who won his… Who considers himself to be free; but yet, if we look at his language, he says: „He can obey anyone”. When you obey someone, it means you do what they tell you. So, he’s free; but yet, he obeys anyone. So it’s a… It’s a contradiction.

„And Dobby will do whatever Harry Potter wants him to do”. So, although he’s a free house-elf now, I guess Dobby hasn’t changed that much because he’s happy to do whatever Harry Potter wants him to do, because Dobby is very grateful to Harry Potter and he respects him very much, so we see it in the language that he uses.

So, most of us, we aren’t going to use submissive language in such an obvious way like Dobby the House-Elf, but there might be signs of it in our speech, and that’s what we’re going to look at in this lesson. I’m going to give lots of examples where, without realizing it, we might speak a little bit like Dobby the House-Elf.

Okay, first, before we get there, I want to talk about what this kind of language shows about us as a person. Some of it’s good, and in some situations we might look at it as… We might see it as a negative thing in some situations. It might be good for us sometimes, but if we use it too much and we make ourselves small in that situation, maybe it’s not helpful for us.

So, first of all, when we talk in this way, sometimes it has the appearance of being very polite language. And that’s good in a way-isn’t it?-because it seems that we have good manners, and we are… We are a charming person because we’re being very polite. But then if we go too polite, sometimes it doesn’t seem that genuine or authentic, perhaps. So, when we use this kind of language as well, it shows that we’re considerate people; we’re people that think about the needs of others first. The people we like especially, we make them very, very important and we care about what they think. So, this shows that we think of other people and not just of ourselves. This kind of language also shows that we’re conscientious people. It means that we… We have a… We care what other people think of us, and we want other people to think that we’re kind of people, and good people, and helpful people.

And then the next thing this kind of language shows about us is low status. That’s another way of saying: „Oh, I’m… I’m not very important; you’re more important than I am.” Or: „You’re more important than I will ever be.” So it’s not very helpful to use that kind of speech in many life situations, for example, in many jobs; but then on the other hand, in some jobs if you have a big boss, your big boss is probably really happy if you make yourself small and look up to them. So it really depends on… On the job that you do. […]