Sunday, February 14, 2010

Language Absolutely: Um, getting a word in edgewise y'know?

I'm a hopeless wordie and am trying to find a term.

In a conversation, it seems as though some people don't even stop to take a breath. They fill in pauses with words or phrases such as "Um," or "Y'know?"

This morning I saw a show where two people were being interviewed. We'll acknowledge that being on tv can make you nervous. This is just an example. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably already know all too well what my 'pet' words are.

One of the guests on the show started a lot of responses with, "Absolutely." Then the other interviewee started to use the word, too. This, the contagiousness of the word Absolutely, I think may be called mirroring?

It was an Absolutely-Fest. The Absolutelies (Is that how you'd make it plural?) were flying left and right. Absobloominlutely.

So with our rich English language, with terms like onomatopoeia (words that sound like the objects they name or the sounds those objects make), I'm wondering if there is a term for those Ums, Aaaaahs and Y'knows. Fillers? Breakers? Pips? White noise? If there is no term, it could be fun, um, to coin one.

Image at top from Clipartfarm

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