What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

Discuss various aspects of natural language.

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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#21  Postby katja z » Feb 06, 2012 10:42 am

Zwaarddijk wrote:
katja z wrote:
LIFE wrote:It's getting so annoying that I'm starting to develop a nervous twitch everytime I see it being abused inappropriately.


How does one abuse words appropriately?

Good abuse of notation (extended to non-formalistic settings as well), can be quite inspiring, but that is a rather non-standard use of the word 'abuse'.


*wags an accusatory finger* Now you've gone and taken me too seriously!

But of course I have to agree with you about "good abuse" of language, it is an essential aspect of my job after all. :tongue:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#22  Postby LIFE » Feb 06, 2012 4:07 pm

Seabass wrote:There's not a damn thing you can do to curtail such mainstream butchering, so I would suggest making an effort to be less petty and judgmental.

Different regions have different dialects. Languages evolve. Get over it.


Oh it's not that I can't sleep at night because of this. You know how the saying goes "Constant dripping wears away the stone."? It's hard to ignore it all day and I felt the need to vent. Maybe it's pointless to you, doesn't mean I'm more petty and judgmental, or whatever you're accusing me of ;)
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#23  Postby HughMcB » Feb 06, 2012 4:24 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:Empty filler words have always been with us, it's just that until relatively recent, colloquial spoken language seldom has been recorded.

The filler's role is mainly to indicate that 'I still haven't finished saying what I was going to say (and I need to do some processing) so it's not your turn to speak quite yet'. Uhm is the canonical filler for this, but "like" ( as in the preposition, not the verb) has also long served this role, "you know" has a similar role that at the same time (may) cues for an indication that the listener still is with us.

An important thing to take into account as well is the recency illusion: it's very common that when something in common use starts annoying us, we assume it's a recent development for the worse. A lot of recent developments for the worse can be found in Shakespearan English, though.

Words easily get their meaning inflated, sometimes reversed, sometimes deflated. Awesome is going through a deflation, epic has lost its original meaning of 'telling a story' and turned into 'huge like a modern RPG game' - so there's both a deflation and a change of meaning. (Epic poem means 'a poem that is a narrative', not 'a poem that tries to be WoW or whatever'. It seems people that have heard of epic poems have mistakenly guessed it associates to two qualities often associated with such poems - bombasticism and a medieval or ancient setting, and great length. )

'I was like ...' is a rather peculiar but different phrase. Sometimes it's used instead of '... and I said ...', sometimes I gather for somewhat more internal states of feeling or such. I guess it's come about to kind of conflate internal state and utterance - something along the line of a thought somewhat similar to 'I felt like, and said, X'. Partially it's a filler, partially it's a functional unit that says 'the next phrase tells something I felt or said'.

:awesome:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#24  Postby Paul G » Feb 06, 2012 4:27 pm

Wait, what? Is it 1994 again?
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#25  Postby SafeAsMilk » Feb 06, 2012 4:38 pm

Animavore wrote:Oh. That annoying Americanism I believe popularized by the film Clueless.

It was being used by spritzhead girls well before Clueless ever came out. There was a girl in 5th grade (1991) we'd occasionally tease for constantly using it. Maybe you folks are finally catching up 20 years later :smug:

I seem to remember 'awesome' showing up around that time as well, coming from things like Bill & Ted's, Wayne's World and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hipsters have brought it back with a vengeance lately. I blame 'epic' on hipsters who ironically enjoy metal, while not actually knowing a thing about it.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#26  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 06, 2012 5:31 pm

I hate the word cool. Even Dutch kids use it. In Dutch the same problem looms. They talk of a fat party. FFS
There is nothing new under the sun. When I was a teenager we used cool back then along with fab. Everything was fab. The fab four (the Beatles).
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#27  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 06, 2012 5:34 pm

LIFE wrote:
Seabass wrote:There's not a damn thing you can do to curtail such mainstream butchering, so I would suggest making an effort to be less petty and judgmental.

Different regions have different dialects. Languages evolve. Get over it.


Oh it's not that I can't sleep at night because of this. You know how the saying goes "Constant dripping wears away the stone."? It's hard to ignore it all day and I felt the need to vent. Maybe it's pointless to you, doesn't mean I'm more petty and judgmental, or whatever you're accusing me of ;)


It's the same as evolution, really. If, at some point, language is mutated by some group to a point where it's useless, their useless version will not spread. If some group mutate it to a point where it's useful, but requires too much effort to gain any ground, it will likewise not spread. Language will converge at some kind of natural optimum of maximal usefulness for minimal effort.

Why's it so easy to believe evolution works, but not believe that it helps maintain our languages as well?

One thing people often get annoyed at is people talking in a redundant manner - but redundance is very useful, as it guarantees that some information is passed by. People are often annoyed by people omitting things - but omission is also useful if the information can be assumed to be known already - saves parsing effort for someone who

We adjust the rules of our language all the time - sometimes, given some circumstances in which the language is to be spoken, we produce a better result, sometimes a less good result - but we generally can't know whether it's better or worse until it's been tested for some time. Someone who ends up being asked "excuse me, what do you mean" or "excuse me, come again?" all the time will adjust his way of speaking if he's clever - because that reaction will be awkward to run into all the time. On the opposite end, someone who never gets that reaction can save effort by being slightly less clear - no need to waste energy on being more clear than necessary is there?
Last edited by Zwaarddijk on Feb 06, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#28  Postby SafeAsMilk » Feb 06, 2012 5:39 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:I hate the word cool. Even Dutch kids use it. In Dutch the same problem looms. They talk of a fat party. FFS
There is nothing new under the sun. When I was a teenager we used cool back then along with fab. Everything was fab. The fab four (the Beatles).

I think 'cool' is one of those words that never became unpopular, it's just been in constant use since the 60's. I'm sure I use it all the time and don't even notice. The only time I ever hear someone use 'fab' is when they're trying to sound like an old hippie.

Is 'fat' from that time as well? I thought it was something started by hip hop culture in the 90's, 'phat party, yo.'
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#29  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 06, 2012 6:52 pm

SafeAsMilk wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:I hate the word cool. Even Dutch kids use it. In Dutch the same problem looms. They talk of a fat party. FFS
There is nothing new under the sun. When I was a teenager we used cool back then along with fab. Everything was fab. The fab four (the Beatles).

I think 'cool' is one of those words that never became unpopular, it's just been in constant use since the 60's. I'm sure I use it all the time and don't even notice. The only time I ever hear someone use 'fab' is when they're trying to sound like an old hippie.

Is 'fat' from that time as well? I thought it was something started by hip hop culture in the 90's, 'phat party, yo.'


Vet is the Dutch word as in "Een vette feest" and it comes from the '90's. They use it to descibe a friend as well when it is a compliment.

Hippies did not really use it. (i was one). It was mostly used by mods.(I was one as well before my hippie period) Being an hippie was cheaper :lol:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#30  Postby Gallstones » Feb 06, 2012 7:02 pm

Fab is short for fabulous for things that are close to being fabulous but not quite.
Fabulous, fab and cool are adjectives.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#31  Postby Pulsar » Feb 06, 2012 7:03 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Vet is the Dutch word as in "Een vette feest" and it comes from the '90's. They use it to descibe a friend as well when it is a compliment.

Also very popular here. Not sure when it first popped up; when I was in high school, the buzzword was gaaf (meaning neat).
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#32  Postby katja z » Feb 06, 2012 7:05 pm

HughMcB wrote:
:awesome:


I see wot you did there :sherlock:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#33  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 07, 2012 10:54 am

SafeAsMilk wrote:
I seem to remember 'awesome' showing up around that time as well, coming from things like Bill & Ted's, Wayne's World and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hipsters have brought it back with a vengeance lately. I blame 'epic' on hipsters who ironically enjoy metal, while not actually knowing a thing about it.

I think epic also must be blamed on the game industry as well - epic was properly used with some early games, and has since been adopted to refer to any game grand in scope. Likewise, there are non-ironic metal bands that use epic to refer to anything with a grand scope without necessarily having a story in there. Or a story that is so hidden behind terribly weak lyrics that no one notices it really is a story.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#34  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 07, 2012 11:15 am

Pulsar wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:Vet is the Dutch word as in "Een vette feest" and it comes from the '90's. They use it to descibe a friend as well when it is a compliment.

Also very popular here. Not sure when it first popped up; when I was in high school, the buzzword was gaaf (meaning neat).


Oh dont mention that word. I sat opposite a young intelligent engineer who would use that word the whole time.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#35  Postby Mazille » Feb 07, 2012 11:37 am

Zwaarddijk wrote:
One thing people often get annoyed at is people talking in a redundant manner - but redundance is very useful, as it guarantees that some information is passed by. People are often annoyed by people omitting things - but omission is also useful if the information can be assumed to be known already - saves parsing effort for someone who

Tee-hee. :tehe:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#36  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Mazille wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
One thing people often get annoyed at is people talking in a redundant manner - but redundance is very useful, as it guarantees that some information is passed by. People are often annoyed by people omitting things - but omission is also useful if the information can be assumed to be known already - saves parsing effort for someone who

Tee-hee. :tehe:


hah.

... someone who can be safely assumed to know most of the situation already. Who cares to sit through someone restating what's already obvious to both participants in a talk?

As an aside, this is quite an obvious indication as to how I write posts - jumping from tab to tab, editing slightly, pausing in the middle of a chain of thoughts to look up some source, every now and then forgetting some clause like that.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#37  Postby orpheus » Feb 07, 2012 2:03 pm

“A way a lone a last a loved a long the”

—James Joyce
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#38  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 07, 2012 2:07 pm

Sustainable is a horrible word. It must be overused in every language. I know in Dutch the word "duurzaam" appears far too often. Everything is sustainable. The magic catch all word.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#39  Postby Matthew Shute » Feb 07, 2012 2:11 pm

"At the end of the day..."

I inwardly cringe every time I hear that one. It's, like, totally not awesome, yeah?
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#40  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 07, 2012 2:13 pm

Do Americans still flog "Have a good day" as much? The ex-pats here alway say it.
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