Monday, November 08, 2010

You Know

How people communicate is endlessly fascinating.  I began to really notice words, sounds and phrases used socially to "buy time" back in high school. In some classes, the teacher seemed so boring that I began taking notes composed only of  "fillers." Each lecture filled pages of them. Seemed boring to listen to, interesting to write about -- but what did I know?  We are usually bored by something because 1) we have not much understanding of the subject or 2) we have too much understanding of it.

Lately I keep hearing people mutter "you know" a lot, as in: "The cars were going real fast, you know."  You know is pretty versatile:

you know (flat)
you know?
you know!
you know?

More surprising, though, I recently come across transcribed interviews of people who grew up in the early 20th century.  Regardless of age, their conversational speech is peppered with you know here and you know there.  Meaning this little filler goes back at least a hundred years.  But why would it be all that new?  It's not what you know, it's who you know, you know? If it ain't broke, don't ever fix it. Seriously, you know what I mean?  

Today's Rune: Movement. 


the walking man said...

You know in conversation if those buying time pauses like become to verbal, uhh you know too irritating I point them out over and over again. That always changes the tone and tenor of like the conversation you know?

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't realize "you know" was so venerable. That's kind of cool and yet disheartening at the same time.

Anonymous said...

What bugs me is the phrase "You know what I mean" when it is sprinkled thru a conversation.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was shocked once when I heard a tape of myself, using that phrase over and over. A new one that irks me is when waitstaff says, "No problem" when you order or ask for water or a napkin. Where did that come from.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks, all ~ very funny.

"No problem" is big in Michigan; it's a pretty good tracer for geographical origin. I also cannot stand "You're more than welcome" --as opposed to what? In what way, exactly?

jodi said...

Erik, I have an acquaintance that says, "ya know what I'm sayin'?", after EVERYTHING he says. Drives me nuts!

Adorably Dead said...

I think I say so and like a lot....when I'm not using something vulgar.