Some thoughts on filler words – after reading what other people had to say – and talking to my wife.
Filler words, aka pause fillers, crutch words, clutch words and even vampire words can be tolerated, genderly better understood and – fairly easily – reduced by half.
- Women have been accused of using “you know” and “like” much more often than men. It seems true to me. Stephen M. Croucher in his paper: Like, You Know What I’m Saying: A Study of Discourse Marker Frequency in Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking“ contends that the reason is cultural. He is right about that. then he goes on to suggest that it is related to the “Valley Girl” talk we learned in “Fast Times at Riddgemont High” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. I think he misses the uh- boat here.
Women tend to look for collaboration more than men and choose the pause fillers “you know” and “like” often as part of their speech /communication for the goal of community rather than as a crutch. You know?
- Stop saying “theee” when you mean “the”.
Since ‘um’,’em’,’er’,’uh’ and ‘ah’ all begin with a vowel, we end up saying “theee, uh, book” when we mean “the book“
Hmmm, so we know ‘theee’ um/uh/er is coming!
If we were going to say “the” book, we wouldn’t start with ‘theee’ (the with a long ‘e’).
My modest proposal is to drop the “theee” form of ‘the’ from your speech: if you never say “theee” it becomes pretty hard to say “theee um”. Of course now you will have to insert an adjective every time you talk about “the” (adjective) elephant 🙁
- I read the book “Um” by Michael Erhard. It is well written and a bit of fun. It left me just a tad disappointed – I wanted more science.