I’ve Started Stuttering, I Mean I Don’t Mean To Repeat Myself
I have identified a new language phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.
I mean, I’ve noticed that a lot of people – myself included – have started adding superfluous words when they talk. I mean, it’s not really a big deal since, like, most teenagers already have, like, you know, been adding meaningless words to their conversation for a couple of decades, dude, you know.
But, I mean, I’ve heard this superfluous phrase coming from people who would choke on the “like” or “you know” if it entered their conversation.
For example, in discussion String Theory on Nova… PBS fer chrissakes!
NOVA: Have you ever had doubts about string theory?
Greene: All the time! I mean, it is a very strange research career, in a way. So far I’ve spent something like 17 years working on a theory for which there is essentially no direct experimental support. It’s a very precarious way to live and to work.
BUFFETT: I feel better. I mean, I love that investment because we have $5 billion in a preferred paying us 10 percent.
Greta Van Sustern used it nine times in her interview with Maverick:
What is your — meaning the federal government’s — problem? I mean, what don’t you get about it? You tell us, but you don’t do anything!
As usual, it’s the jocks that sprinkle this into their conversations most often, using “I mean” instead of saying Um, they are now saying “I mean…”
I’m not one of those who would choke if I misuse the language, I do it all the time. I mean, I am now aware of this one misuse and it’s starting to irritate the hell out of me. I mean, especially when I use it. I can’t control how others talk. I mean, I can only be aware of how I misuse the language and try to change.
You know, I mean, I’m talking, finish my thought, but don’t want to stop running my mouth, so I say, “I mean…” and say basically the same damn thing again!
Or, (and this happens a lot with pundits) they will make their point and add “I mean” just to work in another sound bite.
I’m not talking about tautologies and pleonasms.
I don’t know what these words (“like”, “you know”, “I mean”) are called as a group. I mean I’m not sure if they have such a descriptive term like tautology or pleonasm. I have consulted Language Boy to see what he has to say.
He may email me, in which case I will update, or he may comment. I mean I’ll be sure to report back to you so that, like, you know, you can work this new definition into your conversation. I will be dropping tautologistic and pleonastic into the conversation at LeClub la Pony later today.
- Boy, that horse sure can run speedy fast.
- Take a look-see at the gigantic big hat on that diminutive tiny short dwarf midget jockey.
- Is this the same sloppy mud they use at the spa?
- Make my julep an extra large double grande, but hold the ice and the syrup and mint leaves.
- I had advance warning this thoroughbred race horse would cross the finish line first and win.
Know whut I mean, Vern?
Don’t confuse, “I mean” with “know what I mean?” That’s was a cultural touchstone for us boomers.
I mean, if this group of meaningless words has no etymology what are your suggestion? Know whut I mean?
UPDATE: Here’s what Language-Boy responded:
We used to call those interjections, but now they’re referred to as filler words.
The phenomenon of, um, “filler words” probably goes back to, like, the beginnings of, y’know, language. But, I mean, the specific fillers, er, change with, well, time.
One reason that fillers are more noticeable now than in the past is that, for most Americans, our news is heard and taped for posterity, rather than read and archived. Newspaper and magazine reporters have always edited out those hesitation sounds, because they serve no purpose as far as content is concerned. On the other hand, it is interesting to see how much filler lying politicians sprinkle throughout their statements. So to speak.
I am really bad with the word “like”. I am a child of the 80’s. My dad tells me I say “you know” a lot also.
Don’t forget about the Texas colloquialism “ustacould”. Everyone always forgets that one.
I ustacould do that, but now I can’t.
Just to go along with your speedy-fast and look-see.
.-= Absurdist´s last blog pithAn Apology to Family =-.
@absurdist: There are lots of word fillers specific to regions, but “I mean” is EVERY-friggin-WHERE. Used by smart people who don’t use other filler words. It’s amazing!
Yup. I am REALLLLLY smart. Genius! 😉
And you are so totally right, like, you know?
I mean, you hit it right on the head. Like, I was talking to my friend the other day, you know, and she was telling me, all like, Michelle, the other day, I went all ballistic on this guys ass, you know, and like, he was all up in my face and…
Of course, I don’t write like that. I may speak like that on a casual level, but NEVER in a professional level. I never say the word um… That’s a filler word like you said. If you need a moment, take a damned moment. Silence isn’t a killer. When someone asks you a question, it’s okay to take a moment to think of a damned response.
You don’t HAVE to say um. People are afraid of silence in conversation. I don’t know why. In fact, I think it should be a requirement to stop for at least 15 seconds after a question is asked before answering, when in a public forum, or when in a disagreement situation before answering.
.-= Absurdist´s last blog pithAn Apology to Family =-.
This something that I have always hated. I cannot stand when people say like, um, uh, i mean, etc. Just make a conscious decision to not do it anymore and when you catch yourself doing it again, that should be a remind to be even more conscious