One linguistic tic that seems pre-programmed to annoy is using the name of the person being addressed to punctuate a sentence, e.g. -
"I have a few questions about your report, Bill."
"There's something I don't understand, Joan."
Unlike placing a name at the start of the sentence, where it asks for someone's attention, using the name at the end seems patronizing, a mark of presumed superiority. With it the speaker takes a stance. It's even more pompous used in writing than in speaking, when it's completely clear to the reader that s/he is the person being addressed.
"There's one thing that sits oddly with me about your comment, Nathan."
A friend in the office says this linguistic device is taught in business school as a way of "establishing closeness with an employee." Gack. More like a way of demonstrating bossdom. To me it's the linguistic equivalent of someone poking you in the chest when talking to you.
I do admit there are times when it could be used simply for innocuous emphasis. But even in a positive sentence it seems weird, e.g. "I really like this cake you made, Bill."
Does that make it seem like the speaker was expecting not to like the cake?
I'd be interested to know what others think. I should take more time to read linguistics! Maybe I will.
Anyway, in a tenuous segue from linguistics, my poem Liaoning Snapshot is up at A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Ages ago I taught and studied in Liaoning province in a city named Dalian, another huge Chinese city no one has ever heard of, whose cabbages inspired the poem.