Of language and Laniappe(s), the Wakefield Doctrine…. lets get this thing going

Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)

As promised, today’s Post examines the (use of the) metaphor of ‘fluency’, in the context of developing the efficacy of the interpersonal tools that are inherent in the Wakefield Doctrine. Lets go to our little friends at Wikipedia for an outline of the commonly accepted meanings of this fairly cool word. (oh yeah, turns out this is Part I of what seems to be a much more involved topic than I originally imagined.)

Language fluency is used informally to denote broadly a high level of language proficiency, most typically foreign language or another learned language, and more narrowly to denote fluid language use, as opposed to slow, halting use. In this narrow sense, fluency is necessary but not sufficient for language proficiency: fluent language users (particularly uneducated native speakers) may have narrow vocabularies, limited discourse strategies, and inaccurate word use…

In the sense of proficiency, “fluency” encompasses a number of related but separable skills:

  • Reading: the ability to easily read and understand texts written in the language;
  • Writing: the ability to formulate written texts in the language;
  • Comprehension: the ability to follow and understand speech in the language;
  • Speaking: the ability to produce speech in the language and be understood by its speakers.
  • Reading Comprehension : the level of understanding of text/messages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluency )

So what is it we are trying to say? (ha, ha… a little linguistics joke. After all that serious rogerian time what with the Wikipedia and such, I went and implied that I was not sure:  a) what I was trying to say,  b) whether or not you were capable of understanding what I was saying or c) both of these statements.)

At first I thought it would be pretty straight forward. The goal of developing fluency (as used in this context) is, through understanding the language of all three personality types, to allow you to shape your message in such a manner, that the likelihood that the target of (your message) will comprehend it as you intended. That’s a goal that is both reasonable and ambitious and worthwhile (in terms of the effort necessary to accomplish it.) So how do we do this thing? It would be best to start with the basics.

The Wakefield Doctrine…all people are born with the capacity (and capability) to perceive the world in one of three characteristic ways and at an early, early age we all pick one of these three ways to relate to the world and this becomes our predominant worldview. All of us retain the capacity to access the worldview of the ‘other two’, non-predominant worldviews. These three worldviews are:

  1. the perspective of the Outsider, the clark personality type maintains a quality of separation from others, from the world around them, even from themselves
  2. the life of the Predator, the scottian personality type is the person who, ‘lives through action’, aggressive and impulsive, a scott stands out in a crowd like a Ferrari in a Kia car lot
  3. the roger who is emblematic of the (natural) drive of humans to associate, congregate, analyze and dramatize, rogers form the warp and weft of all human societies
Since each of the three personality types relate to the world around them in characteristically different ways, it is only reasonable that they will seek to communicate with that world in characteristically different ways.

clarks you know one of the funniest, weirdest things about clarks? (ok, a couple of funny weird things) it’s the percentage of time they will use the impersonal pronoun when talking about themselves!! damn! them people is strange… Interesting note: to the un-trained ear, both clarks and rogers will be characterized as having a ‘rambling conversational style’. But if you listen closely, you will hear that (the) clarks are rambling because they are discovering inferences and implications that were not apparent at the start of the conversation, that would enhance the understanding and appreciation of the topic.  A roger, on the other hand, will sound like they are rambling because they are attempting to add new information that they feel further supports the initial topic. (nothing new or original, simply more corroboration for the point they are trying to make).

scotts, as we all know are all about short, declarative sentences. Noun, verb, object. Thank you very much. And, of course, the archetypical Interjection: ‘Hey!’  is always good. Mostly it is whatever demands action. Recently I witnessed a person get complimented on a new ‘hairdo’ the scott approached, conveyed positive response to ‘the look’ and simply said, “Look at you!”

rogers, as befits the personality type that most exemplifies the interactions of members of the herd, speak in terms that carry information not limited to the immediate subject, rather they will expand upon the initial topic, “well, we were all at the Calypso Club last friend for Jimmie’s Birthday Party (he threw his own party, can you believe that?) and Ms. Delguidice was there…dancing with a girl! Well, she was kinda cute and she was telling me how much she admired how far I have come in the Company in such a short time. Who did you say you knew that I knew?”

While it may be easy enough to imitate the language of the three personality types, the path to true fluency entails finding a way to see the world as (they) see it. Only by doing this can we truly understand their language(s). And only by acquiring this level of understanding can we claim true fluency.

(to be cont’d…. Part II ‘What do you mean, it’s more than vocabulary??! Rosetta this…)


clarkscottroger About clarkscottroger
Well, what exactly do you want to know? Whether I am a clark or a scott or roger? If you have to ask, then you need to keep reading the Posts for two reasons: a)to get a clear enough understanding to be able to make the determination of which type I am and 2) to realize that by definition I am all three.* *which is true for you as well, all three...but mostly one


  1. I love how Scotts get to the point, because sometimes when having a conversation with others I am not going to lie, I sometimes will tune them out if they are talking in circles. Sorry, but my mommy brain has too much going on to have to try to figure out what someone is actually saying to me at this point in time, lol!! :)

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      Well put, and is precisely the point of this Post. When the capacity to listen is at a premium, then the ‘natural styles of the clark and rogers’ are ineffective, so anyone with an understanding of the Wakefield Doctrine will make the necessary adjustment to style of communication, in the case you cite, a more scottian approach.

  2. Cyndi says:

    Yeah…fluency. When I was studying my anthropology courses (before all the Spanish courses), I took a class on communication and read a book by Deborah Tannen called, “That’s Not What I Meant!” She was talking about language communication between men and women and how we speak differently and mean different things using the same words. Your post made me think of that book even though we’re talking about language acquisition – to which I’d say that even though we humans are programmed to speak and write and listen and read language, it sure takes a long time to master it. Babies to about second grade take all that time to learn to speak, listen, read and write (at least at an elementary level). Learn a second language? It’s taken me years of study to gain real fluency in Spanish…language is so complex.

  3. Aha! Now I know why I used to type out rambling emails to the staff when I was in HR. I wasn’t trying to waffle on and on, I just thought of new pieces of information as I typed, that I thought would be important. I got told by my Manager that it would be best to keep those emails short and to the point. I do try that now. My blog posts used to be around 1000 words and I’d inject all my feelings and emotions into the post. Nothing wrong with that every now and then. But, thanks to some advice from other bloggers, I’ve learnt to keep them a lot shorter. I won’t lie – it’s not easy. It’s very against what I’m used to doing! Great post today Clark! :)

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      Agreed. The whole point is that we have maximum choices/options. To be able to shape the message deliberately and chose to not do so is still better than not know how to shape the message for the Reader/Listener.

  4. Repetition. Inherent in the initial stages of learning….anything. “Repeat after me”.

    Step 1: Repeat the basic characteristics of each of the 3 personalities or “worldviews”.
    Step 2: Repeat the basic adjectives that describe each of the 3 personalities or “worldviews.
    Repeat steps 1 & 2. often.

    I remind myself it is a step process learning the Wakefield Doctrine. As adults, we naturally want to jump ahead (well, the clarks and scotts anyway lol) and get to the “best” part of learning this new “language” – the conversing part.
    In order to practice what is learned we need to converse with someone else. Someone who is fluent in the language.
    Guess I’ll take a cue from our rogerian friends and take it step by step by step -you know, like they tell you in the rules book:)