Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Uh... fill in the gap



Linguistics fillers are, um, specific to a language. So when you're like, learning a new language, you should also learn the appropriate language fillers for casual language. In English we tend to use 'um' or 'uh', even 'like' or 'you know'.

But what about authentic fillers in other languages?
Did you know?
In American Sign Language, 'um' can be signed with open-8 held at chin, palm in, eyebrows down.
The French use the 'euh' filler most commonly, but also 'quoi' (what), 'bah', 'ben' (well), 'tu vois (you see), and 'eh bien' (well...). In other Francophone countries, the fillers change and may include 'tu sais' (you know). In Qu├ębec, additional filler words include 'genre' (kind of like), 'comme' (like) and 'style'.

Spanish-speakers call these fillers muletillas. You may hear 'e' or 'este' (this) as well as 'o sea' (I mean). Similarly, in Italian 'e' is used to fill in the gaps.

I don't speak Czech (at all!), but in Prague I picked up on people saying 'tak' often. It's a linguistic filler meaning 'so...'

What other lingustic fillers have you heard or do you use regularly?


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