Monday, April 26, 2010

The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

fluency (n.)
ability to waffle on about anything without sparing a thought for what you are actually saying

In an experiment conducted at the English Language Department in Glasburgh University, ten lucky "students" were treated to a free pint of bitter every 30 minutes, the aim being to study the relationship between fluency and accuracy over time while under the effects of alcohol.

The researchers summarised their findings thus:

From the above, they deduced:
  • Few students can hold more than 14 pints in one drinking session.
  • At first, the more students drink, the more fluent and accurate they become.
  • The critical pint comes after about three hours (i.e. six pints).
  • After this turning pint, fluency continues to increase at an impressive rate.
  • By the same token, however, accuracy shows a marked decline during this period.
  • It's inadvisable to go for the 15th pint - the pint of no-return -, as any fluency acquired will quickly dry up.
The researchers went on to establish an overall communication index - an expression of fluency multiplied by accuracy.

As you can see below, the optimum pint is around the three-hour mark:
From a student's pint of view, in any case, the message is clear: by all means drink, but don't expect people to understand you after the tenth pint.

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