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Filler Words

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 04 2015 · 1,005 views

language english people
Working retail, I interact with a lot of people. More than I'd care to on a daily basis. And people, as a whole, seem to like to talk a lot. Again, more than I'd care to let my ears hear. So, the less words said the better, right?

One thing that I really can not stand is the phrase "you know" when describing something. It's as bad as "like," "um," and "uh," when it comes to filler. Something involuntary to cause a pause when your brain can't quite put the right words in order in conversation.

Whenever a customer (or even someone closer actually conversing) injects "you know" into their sentence when going into detail on something to better help me understand, my immediate thought is, "No, I don't know, that's why you're telling me."

I'm not perfect either, but it's a habit I've broken pretty well. I've even winced when I said it recently.

I just need a super-villain weapon that changes the brain waves of everyone across the world to be more precise with their language!

-CF :kakama:

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Look, if I were talking to a giant chocolate frog, I think I might flub my words too.

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Ta-metru_defender
Nov 04 2015 11:06 PM

Okay, you ready for this?

 

There's a subset of anthropology called Conversation Analysis (or CA) which is exactly what it sounds like. One of the things CA looks at is those fillers and hedging, which is what you're talking about. Fillers are used in lieu of awkward silences for the speaker to connect thoughts as well as to assess the listener's attention. Hedging ("like," "kinda") is used to mitigate statements. Saying "Do you have anything like a Bionic Monkey?" is perceived as less imposing than saying "Do you have a Bionic Monkey?" Hedging is taking place here so both people can save some face: the speaker doesn't come off as imposing and the listener doesn't have to repair the exchange accordingly.

 

 

(tl;dr): TMD thinks that one semester course on conversations makes him an expert.

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ChocolateFrogs
Nov 04 2015 11:30 PM

Okay, you ready for this?

 

There's a subset of anthropology called Conversation Analysis (or CA) which is exactly what it sounds like. One of the things CA looks at is those fillers and hedging, which is what you're talking about. Fillers are used in lieu of awkward silences for the speaker to connect thoughts as well as to assess the listener's attention. Hedging ("like," "kinda") is used to mitigate statements. Saying "Do you have anything like a Bionic Monkey?" is perceived as less imposing than saying "Do you have a Bionic Monkey?" Hedging is taking place here so both people can save some face: the speaker doesn't come off as imposing and the listener doesn't have to repair the exchange accordingly.

 

 

(tl;dr): TMD thinks that one semester course on conversations makes him an expert.

 

That's really interesting!

 

-CF

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Well, that's like, your own problem, man. Y'know?

 

Actually, the weapon you describe would be closer to a superhero healing ray. A Staff of Artahka for English.

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~Shockwave~
Nov 05 2015 12:27 AM

It gets really hard when that person is on the other end of a phone call and the only form of communication you have with them is verbal. From answering more calls then I ever want to think about, the inverse becomes really important. I have to be able to draw out conversations while I'm searching furiously for whatever the person on the other end wanted. And since I could be answering anything from "Where is my sim card?" to "How do I reset my Apple ID?" I can't possibly memorize it all. I can't go completely silent as that makes the customer angry, I can't put them on hold for everything, So I kind of had to use stuff like that to control the phone call. I was also really bad at multitasking so it had a habit of falling apart sometimes.

 

Though if the customer in question was bad about that part of me would be annoyed, but the other part would be thankful I can safely tune most of it out and focus on getting them what they want.

 

Yeah. Don't ever do over the phone customer service. It's a stressful nightmare.

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Kaburimasu 米
Nov 05 2015 12:29 AM

I have a speech impediment, and along with that comes constant pausing midsentence and saying things such as "and um..." or "like..." Its disturbing for the fact that it makes it sound as if I am actually "slow", but, in a way, I'm very intelligent.

 

What makes it worse is that, being "black" from Detroit, I was highly exposed to a ghetto audience as a child, so for 16 years,  I spoke with slang and never completed words. For example, I would say "iaen kno" instead of "i aint even know," which is still grammatically incorrect.

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Language is an organic construction. Not everyone can formulate their thoughts at the rate that's expected of them, and a "y'know" or even the dreaded "um" is a much more effective way of carrying a thought and maintaining the flow of the conversation than an awkward silence could ever be. It's about context. In a professional essay or article which can be perfected over a long period of time, filler like that is a waste and should be avoided. In day-to-day spontaneous conversation it's often a necessity, and trying to enforce a single "proper" grammar and punish colloquialism will just make you look like a jerk, y'know?

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ChocolateFrogs
Nov 05 2015 04:17 PM

Language is an organic construction. Not everyone can formulate their thoughts at the rate that's expected of them, and a "y'know" or even the dreaded "um" is a much more effective way of carrying a thought and maintaining the flow of the conversation than an awkward silence could ever be. It's about context. In a professional essay or article which can be perfected over a long period of time, filler like that is a waste and should be avoided. In day-to-day spontaneous conversation it's often a necessity, and trying to enforce a single "proper" grammar and punish colloquialism will just make you look like a jerk, y'know?

 

Yes indeed, language is deeply interesting.

 

But the phrase "you know" just doesn't make any sense. Because I don't know.

 

-CF

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I had a college professor who said "the following" a ridiculous number of times on a daily basis. I used to take a tally in the margin of my notes... I think his record was 47 in a day.  Trust me, there are worse things to overuse than "um" or "you know". :b

Actually, I think I stopped paying attention to "you know" after working in phone tech support, it seemed about half the Canadian customers I talked to ended almost every sentence (almost never an actual question) with "ya know?" or "yah?". 

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I try to change up the filler and say different filler every day. 

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