What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

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What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#1  Postby LIFE » Feb 05, 2012 10:53 pm

Spreading like the plague, words such as:

  • awesome
  • you know (what I mean)
  • brilliant
  • like
  • ...

"You know, like, that's like....really awesome, you know, like brilliant...like...you know what I mean!"

Who started this? As far as I remember those mannerisms weren't that present in everday language a few years back, no?
Especially "Awesome" is being used so much it completely loses its original meaning. It's getting so annoying that I'm starting to develop a nervous twitch everytime I see it being abused inappropriately.

How do these language memes get so popular? And more specifically, how is it it doesn't catch on with more substantial expressions such as for example those that are being sported by people like Fry and Hitchens where one can truly admire their rich vocabulary and their application to language?

Not many things are genuinely awesome, I propose it should be used as seldom to emphazise what eventually needs to be emphazised?

And furthermore, what could one do to curtail such mainstream butchering?
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#2  Postby LucidFlight » Feb 05, 2012 11:27 pm

I believe it is a regression to an early proto language of grunts and other primate utterances. Members of the tribe repeat the same, familiar sounds as a means of identification and bonding. "Ooh! Ooh! Ahh!" has become "Brilliant! Like! Awesome!"
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#3  Postby DougC » Feb 05, 2012 11:30 pm

"Awesome"
A) The discovery of a Supernova that will light up the night sky.
B) A tasty hamburger.
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Do be do be do (Sinatra)
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#4  Postby Animavore » Feb 05, 2012 11:31 pm

I prefer to write in pics :awesome:
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#6  Postby Animavore » Feb 05, 2012 11:39 pm

virphen wrote:Awesome thread.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#7  Postby Pulsar » Feb 05, 2012 11:49 pm

ZOMG, chillax LIFE. Don't b a hipster. Dis shit is totally EPIC, fo sho. w00t!
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#8  Postby LIFE » Feb 06, 2012 12:54 am

Pulsar wrote:ZOMG, chillax LIFE. Don't b a hipster. Dis shit is totally EPIC, fo sho. w00t!


I can see chat language have it's place *cough* but "epic" is another one of those candidates...don't they realize it just makes them sound dumb? :scratch: Also I see many people agree with me in real life when I point it out yet nobody says anything, at most might roll their eyes. Hmm.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#9  Postby Kaleid » Feb 06, 2012 12:56 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rYT0YvQ3hs[/youtube]
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#10  Postby Animavore » Feb 06, 2012 12:58 am

They're just memes based on popular culture. "Like" comes from Facebook. "Awesome" probably goes back to Bill and Ted. "Brilliant" pre-dates me. "Epic" I'm not sure.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#11  Postby virphen » Feb 06, 2012 1:17 am

I think like well predates facebook, unless it is used in a different way now... it seemed to be used as a vocal pause like "um" and "ah".
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#12  Postby Animavore » Feb 06, 2012 1:20 am

Oh. That annoying Americanism I believe popularized by the film Clueless.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#13  Postby Tim Hendrix » Feb 06, 2012 1:58 am

Language does develop, as we all know, otherwise we would all still be speaking ancient dialects... it's just a shame that the latest development seems particularly clumsy.

I saw an article that pointed out that a lot of modern idioms would be incomprehensible to people who lived 100 years ago (and even 50 years ago - I'm sure Granma and Granpa have no idea what their great grandchildren are saying).

Such as "I was like...", meaning "I said...".

It's an extraordinary phrase! I wonder who came up with that one.

I think they used to call this mode of speech "Valley Girl".


<edited to change 'Elizaancient" to "ancient"... though I like Eliza-ancient as well>
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#14  Postby MoonLit » Feb 06, 2012 2:41 am

Tim Hendrix wrote:

Such as "I was like...", meaning "I said...".

It's an extraordinary phrase! I wonder who came up with that one.

I think they used to call this mode of speech "Valley Girl".


It's now called "Prep" or "Preppy".

Or at least while I was till in high school. I don't hear anyone talk like that at college, but the campus I go to is the smallest and the majority of the students are either my age or older. :lol:

I do say the word "awesome" though. :grin: :grin: :grin:

As for epic, I only type it. Never said it out loud. :lol:

virphen wrote:I think like well predates facebook, unless it is used in a different way now... it seemed to be used as a vocal pause like "um" and "ah".


Correct. "Like..." was used in that manner well before Facebook.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#15  Postby Regina » Feb 06, 2012 8:50 am

LIFE wrote:Spreading like the plague, words such as:

  • awesome
  • you know (what I mean)
  • brilliant
  • like
  • ...

"You know, like, that's like....really awesome, you know, like brilliant...like...you know what I mean!"

Who started this? As far as I remember those mannerisms weren't that present in everday language a few years back, no?
Especially "Awesome" is being used so much it completely loses its original meaning. It's getting so annoying that I'm starting to develop a nervous twitch everytime I see it being abused inappropriately.

How do these language memes get so popular? And more specifically, how is it it doesn't catch on with more substantial expressions such as for example those that are being sported by people like Fry and Hitchens where one can truly admire their rich vocabulary and their application to language?

Not many things are genuinely awesome, I propose it should be used as seldom to emphazise what eventually needs to be emphazised?

And furthermore, what could one do to curtail such mainstream butchering?

GAH! I positively hate awesome. I never use it in polite company! :mrgreen:
Epic and fail have caught on in Germany. It usually indicates gamers.
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#16  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 06, 2012 9:11 am

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

#17  Postby Seabass » Feb 06, 2012 9:49 am

LIFE wrote:Spreading like the plague, words such as:

  • awesome
  • you know (what I mean)
  • brilliant
  • like
  • ...

"You know, like, that's like....really awesome, you know, like brilliant...like...you know what I mean!"

Who started this? As far as I remember those mannerisms weren't that present in everday language a few years back, no?
Especially "Awesome" is being used so much it completely loses its original meaning. It's getting so annoying that I'm starting to develop a nervous twitch everytime I see it being abused inappropriately.

How do these language memes get so popular? And more specifically, how is it it doesn't catch on with more substantial expressions such as for example those that are being sported by people like Fry and Hitchens where one can truly admire their rich vocabulary and their application to language?

Not many things are genuinely awesome, I propose it should be used as seldom to emphazise what eventually needs to be emphazised?

And furthermore, what could one do to curtail such mainstream butchering?


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

#18  Postby katja z » Feb 06, 2012 10:07 am

Zwaarddijk pretty much nailed it, you're just noticing some pretty usual phenomena of spoken language pragmatics and language change. These things have been going on for as long as humans have been using language and we're still not quite back (or forward) to grunting and pointing as our only means of communication, so don't worry ;)

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? :shifty:






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

#19  Postby Crocodile Gandhi » Feb 06, 2012 10:16 am

I use 'awesome' all the time :(
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Re: What's with those trendy words and empty fillers?

#20  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 06, 2012 10:33 am

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'.
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