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?

#41  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 07, 2012 2:13 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:"At the end of the day..."

I inwardly cringe every time I hear that one. It's, like, totally not awesome, yeah?


Which expressions would you favour instead to convey the same meaning? Or do you think the meaning it conveys is somehow worthless?
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#42  Postby Matthew Shute » Feb 07, 2012 2:22 pm

I'm not sure what it is supposed to mean, if anything; but there are people I've met who seem to put it before every other sentence. Isn't it just a "filler"?

"At the end of the day, I'm not a racist but..."

"At the end of the day, I like science but it's only a theory..."

"At the end of the day, I get along with most people, but..."

"At the end of the day, the Prime Minister can turn around to George Osborne and tell him to sod off; but then George Osborne could just turn around and tell David Cameron..."

(That's another one I'm not very sure about. Why are people are always pointlessly "turning around" before saying anything (in anecdotes, etc)?)
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#43  Postby Pulsar » Feb 07, 2012 2:50 pm

Actually, is "actually" actually used too much?
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#44  Postby LIFE » Feb 07, 2012 3:40 pm

Pulsar wrote:Actually, is "actually" actually used too much?


Oh my, I'm guilty of that...at least partly.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#45  Postby Mazille » Feb 07, 2012 7:31 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
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.

Now that's disappointing. I thought you did it on purpose, because you were talking about omissions in the sentence. :( Should have just played along in a "I meant to do that" manner.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#46  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 07, 2012 7:39 pm

Mazille wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
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.

Now that's disappointing. I thought you did it on purpose, because you were talking about omissions in the sentence. :( Should have just played along in a "I meant to do that" manner.

Yeah, I know. My honesty got the better of me :(

srsly, I write in a sloppily disorganized manner a lot of the time.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#47  Postby don't get me started » Feb 11, 2012 12:50 pm

I'm a bit late to this discussion, but there are a number of really interesting strands to these language phenomena.

The approbation terms (Amazing/rad/cool/epic/groovy, etc) have a relatively high turn over rate, coming into and going out of fashion with dizzying speed.
One reason for this may a feature of the culture of English language. English has an overriding concern with autonomy and individuality. (Wierzbicka: 'English. Meaning and Culture' is a central text in the investigation of cultural underpinnings of the English language)
This focus manifests itself in many ways, one of which is the tendency of speakers to avoid repeating other speaker's language, especially evaluative statements. If I say something is 'great', then the next speaker, assuming he or she agrees with me, is unlikely to repeat 'great'. They would probably say 'fantastic' or 'wonderful' or something else.
Likewise, if I comment that "It's freezing today" the responder would more likely say something like " Yea, it's bitter, isn't it?", rather than repeating 'Yeah, it's freezing today."

This stands in contrast to Japanese where repeating evaluative statements verbatim is the norm. It is in no way strange for all of the people around a table in a restaurant to all say 'Oishi' (delicious) one after the other or all together, to confirm how nice the food is.
I have been at a fireworks display and after each detonation, several thousand spectators have all simultaneously expressed their approval with cries of 'Kirei' (Beautiful) And they kept it up for over an hour. ( I have speculated that this may reflect Japanese language culture's preoccupation with group identity and harmony)

So, because English seems to demand an element of originality in these kind of utterances, showing that one has come to the judgment autonomously, rather than merely parroting the opinions of others, then new words and expressions are useful. It's no point relying on 'great' if the previous speaker bags it first.

With regard to 'like' in it's use as a speech act verb, again, this may reflect another central cultural aspect of the English language.
The following is from "Semantic Analysis. A practical introduction" By Chris Goddard.(pp150-151)

"One of the most noticeable things about English speech act verbs is that there are so many of them-hundreds rather than dozens (or even fewer) found in many other languages. Furthermore, they are of relatively high frequency and salience for English speakers."

Perceiving the world of humans as a world shaped by verbal interaction is a key Weltanshauung of English,(it has been argued) so it should not be surprising that there are many and varied ways to express speech acts. The use of 'like' as a speech act verb may have arisen for localized reasons (Valley Girl English?) But it's widespread adoption reflects an ongoing preoccupation with speaking. I'd have to do a corpus search, but I suspect that 'like' in this usage probably has a very specific meaning, not covered exactly by 'say'. I'm guessing that it focuses on the utterances being part of an ongoing discourse,rather than stand alone bits of speech. Or, it may seek to report the gist of the information within the reported discourse, rather than a summary of what the speaker said in that single turn.


With regard to fillers, the research is clear, they are never "empty "and have very important roles in spoken language.
"Well" as a turn opener serves the function of a capital letter in writing, 'you know' and 'I mean' serve some of the functions of commas, ("I'm not done yet, there's more coming) and expressions like "You know what I mean" serve some of the function of a full stop, indicating that a turn is coming to an end. (English also does this with intonational cues, and 'de-focusing' devices like, "and stuff", and that", "and that kind of thing", something like that.)

These kind of discourse management devices are some of the hardest pieces of language for foreign language speakers to get right. They tend to be said slightly quicker and slightly quieter than the surrounding speech.
It's not surprising that even some native speakers don't get it exactly 'right' with regards to use of this kind of extremely sophisticated language.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#48  Postby notsodumblonde » Mar 07, 2012 11:07 pm

I actually really like the word awesome, and I must admit I'm one of those annoying people who over use the word. I do try and reserve it for when something is truly awesome, but I must admit to me a lot of things are.
Our language has developed. Phrase's such as "fail" and "epic fail" where exactly did these come from?
It seems to me that people have just gotten lazy with language. Take text speak for example, it's fine in a text message. But when people talk out loud with things like "lol" and "omg" it really starts to bug me.
I think the younger generations have lost a respect and appreciation of language. I blame TV, a lot of the word's and phrases that are used by the younger generations have come from being sat in from of the square box too much watching american children's programmes. Including the newest gang slang, "sick" meaning good. I just don't understand this at all.
I think us older generations need to encourage the younger to use our language as it is intended. Change is good, but this is just laziness. Rant over now...
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#49  Postby katja z » Mar 08, 2012 8:33 am

notsodumblonde wrote:to use our language as it is intended.


I think you'll first have to define what "using our language as it is intended" :grin: Intended by whom?

If it makes you feel any better, the complaints about the English language going down the drain (mostly because the younger generations can't use it properly any more) have been around for centuries. Oh, and the same could be said for any other language. In fact, this is part of a wider social/cultural perception - the sense of things declining and decaying in comparison with a golden past has been present in the European history at least since the classical antiquity. Funny that. ;)
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#50  Postby Crocodile Gandhi » Mar 08, 2012 9:23 am

Well, to be fair, young people are uniformly horrible. I'm glad I never was one.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#51  Postby Scot Dutchy » Mar 08, 2012 9:37 am

Welcome on board Emma. :welcome:

I personally dont think kids are so much different. They like to think they are.
I am a kid of the sixties and adults just complained about us then as we do now about the present kids.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#52  Postby Evolving » Mar 08, 2012 9:39 am

notsodumblonde wrote:I actually really like the word awesome, and I must admit I'm one of those annoying people who over use the word. I do try and reserve it for when something is truly awesome, but I must admit to me a lot of things are.
Our language has developed. Phrase's such as "fail" and "epic fail" where exactly did these come from?
It seems to me that people have just gotten lazy with language. Take text speak for example, it's fine in a text message. But when people talk out loud with things like "lol" and "omg" it really starts to bug me.
I think the younger generations have lost a respect and appreciation of language. I blame TV, a lot of the word's and phrases that are used by the younger generations have come from being sat in from of the square box too much watching american children's programmes. Including the newest gang slang, "sick" meaning good. I just don't understand this at all.
I think us older generations need to encourage the younger to use our language as it is intended. Change is good, but this is just laziness. Rant over now...


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

#53  Postby Berthold » Oct 15, 2013 8:43 am

This thread is geil. :grin:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#54  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 15, 2013 9:41 am

Berthold wrote:This thread is geil. :grin:


Does that have the same meaning in German as Dutch.

A small anecdote on that word.

When the Polish pope gave his yearly greetings in all the different languages by the time he go to the Dutch one he was meant to have said "Heilige Maria" (holy Mary) but instead it came out as "geilige Maria" (randy Mary). You could hear almost the entire Netherlands laughing.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#55  Postby Berthold » Oct 15, 2013 9:55 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Berthold wrote:This thread is geil. :grin:


Does that have the same meaning in German as Dutch.

Two standard meanings:
Containing fat (for food); by now a bit archaic
Horny, sexy (already in German classics to be found in this meaning)
Slang meaning (derived from the latter):
General word of approval, "cool"
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#56  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 15, 2013 10:04 am

Berthold wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
Berthold wrote:This thread is geil. :grin:


Does that have the same meaning in German as Dutch.

Two standard meanings:
Containing fat (for food); by now a bit archaic
Horny, sexy (already in German classics to be found in this meaning)
Slang meaning (derived from the latter):
General word of approval, "cool"


In Dutch it is definitely not "cool".

It was a pure slang word but now is often found in Dutch literature. It means extremely horny.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#57  Postby Zwaarddijk » Oct 18, 2013 8:07 pm

notsodumblonde wrote:I actually really like the word awesome, and I must admit I'm one of those annoying people who over use the word. I do try and reserve it for when something is truly awesome, but I must admit to me a lot of things are.
Our language has developed. Phrase's such as "fail" and "epic fail" where exactly did these come from?

"fail" comes from gamer culture, but how it was formed is pretty obvious: it is essentially a zero-derived noun, deriving from the verb 'to fail'. English did already have a noun for that - failure - but that has never stopped English before, has it? Several verbs have nouns derived in different manners from them. "fail" differs from failure in being way less formal. Using it also assumes way less in terms of seriousness. Finally, "failure" in isolation sounds weirdly stilted, and therefore probably doesn't really work as an interjection, whereas "fail" does. "Epic" originally meant something like "conveying a story", and was mainly used to describe poems. An epic poem, then, is a poem that besides being all poetic also has a narrative. The Kalevala, the Illiad and Odyssey and Beowulf are all examples of this. What happened was some fantasy authors started describing their stories as 'epic trilogies' etc (which it would be pretty weird if they weren't), game designers took to the same word as a marketing thing (epic games still is a reasonable thing - tetris is not epic, pacman is not epic, Kings' Quest, Command'n'Conquer, Warcraft 2, - these are epic). Epic thereby gained a different meaning, nowadays signifying something more like "impressive" - so you get epic metal with no narrative to it, etc. This is how words usually work over time, though - if we were to try and wind back all events along these lines in the English language, "bead" would signify a prayer rather than a pearl-shaped thing! Many other examples of similar bleaching have taken place in the history of every language.

It seems to me that people have just gotten lazy with language. Take text speak for example, it's fine in a text message. But when people talk out loud with things like "lol" and "omg" it really starts to bug me.

Lol and omg aren't really any lazy - lol, arguably, is more of a conscious effort than actual laughter is, and omg is the same amount of syllables that 'oh my god' is - /Ou) maI) gAd/ vs. /Ou)?Em:?dZE:/

Lol and omg, however, do function as social markers, they've gained traction through various complexes of sociolinguistic phenomena. Calling them lazy is probably ignoring about 99% of the truth of how they've become things people say - and thus is intellectually lazy! I guess the younger generations have lost a respect and appreciation for understanding how things work. Oh wait, the previous generations lacked it to.

I think the younger generations have lost a respect and appreciation of language. I blame TV, a lot of the word's and phrases that are used by the younger generations have come from being sat in from of the square box too much watching american children's programmes.

Do you really think sheep farmers, coal miners, fishermen, etc etc had significantly more respect and appreciation for language than modern people? Probably not. However, you've never heard a 19th century coal miner speak, your impression of 19th century language is fairly exclusively from the pens of well-educated upper-class people. There is a huge sampling problem involved, really.


I think us older generations need to encourage the younger to use our language as it is intended. Change is good, but this is just laziness. Rant over now...

Language is a by-product of evolution, and thus its "intended use" is whatever benefits its user. Even the things you may find obnoxious or annoying may be beneficial to the user - laziness is obviously economical (less energy wasted on trying to structure a superfluously eloquent sentence), redundancy helps despite a lot of people angrily telling others not to be redundant (redundancy is especially helpful since we live in a world where noise does at times make itself heard. At such times, redundancy may help overcome the data loss that occurs in the transmission. Redundancy may also overcome accidental mis-parsing.)

And as I said, saying "this is just laziness" is oftentimes just a sneering excuse for disdain without actually having looked into what use and function some expression has in some sociolect. More often than not, it's just sheer fucking class bigotry.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#58  Postby Scarlett » Oct 18, 2013 8:12 pm

Tia used the word "awesome" once, in fact she prefixed it with "totally", it's now banned :nono:

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

#59  Postby lofuji » Nov 11, 2016 7:35 am

I'm an occasional member of a Google+ group on English, and a while back one contributor, trying to introduce his students/followers to the concept of synonyms, used these examples: amazing, incredible, awesome, phenomenal, together with an example of how they might be used. To me, these are all words with specific meanings that don't overlap, but in some ways they are like the fabulous, wonderful, marvellous, etc. of earlier generations. I was inspired to write a blog post in which I described the author's selection of synonyms as today's +1 adjectives. The author +1'ed my post.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#60  Postby Blackadder » Nov 11, 2016 8:56 am

lofuji wrote:I'm an occasional member of a Google+ group on English, and a while back one contributor, trying to introduce his students/followers to the concept of synonyms, used these examples: amazing, incredible, awesome, phenomenal, together with an example of how they might be used. To me, these are all words with specific meanings that don't overlap, but in some ways they are like the fabulous, wonderful, marvellous, etc. of earlier generations. I was inspired to write a blog post in which I described the author's selection of synonyms as today's +1 adjectives. The author +1'ed my post.


:lol: Perhaps your next blog should be about the use of irony.
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