Where you stand depends on where you sit, as we well know. But now something else is becoming increasingly clear: Where you sit also can determine how you talk. And say what you will, how you talk does matter.

Just ask Timothy Boomer, a 25-year-old computer programmer from Detroit. Sitting in a canoe last summer got him in deep water--or rather, not sitting in it. As he was paddling down Michigan's remote Rifle River last August, he managed to fall out of his boat and into the drink. Last month, a Michigan jury found him guilty of violating

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