There are things the world doesn’t need. The banana slicer, for example, when a knife gets the job done just fine, or shoes for babies. For generations of linguists, filler words have fallen into the same category. The common belief is that they add little to a dialogue aside from making the speaker sound nervous (“uh”), juvenile (“like”) or insecure (“sort of”). Yet, verbal fillers are a major part of how we talk, featuring in virtually every spoken sentence. Humanity This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Two Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 44 Hannah Traore The art world's next big thing is a gallerist. Arts & Culture Issue 44 The False Mirror Compositions inspired by the iconic clouds—and surrealist sensibilities—of René Magritte. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Boaz Nechemia Meet Jerusalem’s favorite weatherman. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Fredi Otto One scientist's mission to prove the link between extreme weather and climate change. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Ghostlore Four questions about supernatural studies. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Word: Anecdata Fact, meet fiction.