NANTUCKET, MA - It gives a whole new meaning to "breaking the silence."
A revelational study to be released later today suggests that more often than not, when someone claims to be speechless, they are "not actually."
The concept was discovered early last morning, around tea time, when a group of high-ranking linguists siting at an unnaturally elongated table recognized that the claim of speechlessness should not be taken at face value.
Though our interview with renowned British wordsmith James Carroll was frequently interrupted by incessant sipping and quests to make breakfast sweeter, otherwise the yakking chap was ace.
"Speechlessness -," began Carroll, while mixing his tea, "is merely a figure of speech." As he sampled the hot beverage with his spoon and emitted an awkward exaggerative moan, he continued: "When someone walks up to you, say on Saturday morning, and says something like 'Your actions last night were despicable. I am speechless', they are generally only truthful about one clause."
As he put his cup down, Carroll added loudly, "Would you pass the marmalade, please? No, not that one - yes - a bit to the right - closer - no - almost there..."
If confirmed, the new discovery would improve man's daily statistics of lies, fibs and perjury by an estimated one one billionth of one percent.
The finding is not without opposition, however. The mute population, believed to be literally speechless and not "just saying that" - or not saying that they are not just saying that - or not that... regardless, was moderately taken aback by the study. Before an influential mute icon could elaborate, our journalist interpreted the erratic hand motions as anger and left the room.
"Actions Speak Louder than Words," his shirt displayed. We didn't catch his name.
Experts recommend that in order to avoid misrepresentation and convey actual speechlessness, people should just "refrain from talking."
"When you tell someone you're speechless, you're no longer speechless. It's best not to utter anything," explained professional metaphorist Frank Johnson. "It's like telling your wife that you'll 'be right there' when you're actually in a different state having a passionate, interminable affair with your former secretary."
"Think about it."
Johnson, who realized only after the interview that he used a simile and not a metaphor, looked unusually penitent and glum after his remark.
Experts also agree that speechlessness is not the only example of a linguistic discrepancy, calling it "just a cog in the wheel, so to speak" reassuring that it is "not a palpable object" and "would likely look nothing like a cog if it was."
Similarly, while details are hazy, it has been suggested that those who have claimed in the past to "literally die of laughter", "boredom" or a "broken heart" are actually alive and well. One such citizen, Edna Campbell, who reportedly witnessed a chihuahua in pantyhose, is now a successful paleontologist with a "nice SUV", a "big suburban house" and a "loving family."
"News of my death have been greatly exasperated," laughed Campbell, forgetting the Mark Twain quote. "It was so funny, though! The little legs and the... You should have been there."
Campbell's daughter Abigail has also been faced with a similar situation, frequently text-messaging that she is "rolling on the floor" and "laughing her ass off," often in unison and to things that aren't really that funny.
Her mother reports that neither is true.
"The fundaments of both Abigail and our house are firmly in place," Campbell culminated soberly.