Urban myths conversation questions
- How many urban myths do you know? Just one or two? Dozens?
- How do you know if it's an urban myth? Do you ever try to check?
- Have you ever helped spread an urban myth? Did you know at time that it was a myth or did you think it was true?
- If somebody sends you a really amazing story by email do you assume it is true? Why?
- If somebody sends you a virus warning by email do you assume it is true and send it to all your friends? Why?
Specific urban myths
How many of the following have you heard/read about? How many of them do/did you believe?
- The origin of the adjective "posh" is "Port Outbound, Starboard Homebound"
- Around 90% of communication is non-verbal
- RP is the most common form of British English
- You catch a cold through being cold.
- The Eskimo/Inuit languages have anything up to 100 different words to describe different kinds of snow.
- We only use 10% of our brains.
- Microwaves: A woman in the US who received millions in compensation from a major electrical appliances manufacturer because she put her poodle in the microwave to dry it after its bath, and there was no specific warning against doing so in the users' manual.
- Sports cars: The woman who successfully sued after crashing her newly-purchased luxury sports car as she drove out of the dealer's lot. The plaintiff claimed that there was no specific warning that the accelerator was so sensitive.
- Mobile phones: A video clip shown on YouTube in 2008 has been claimed as evidence that the radiation caused by mobiles is strong enough to cook popcorn.
- Wilton, David & Brunetti, Ivan Word Myths at Google Books
- "There's Snow Synonym" February 9, 1984 The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativism holds that the language we speak both affects and reflects our view of the world. In a popular 1940 article on the subject, Whorf referred to Eskimo languages having seven distinct words for snow. Later writers inflated the figure: by 1978, the number quoted had reached 50, and a 1984 article in The New York Times gave the number as 100!
- Vodafone Official web site
- Wikipedia article on urban myths
- BBC News "Experts to study urban myths"
- Wikipedia article on words for snow