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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 42

Pause for Thought

Why filler words are like, um, good.
Words by Annick Weber. Photograph by Rozenn Le Gall.

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

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Two

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