you know...

intruder   Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:40 pm GMT
Why do teenagers and young adults overuse this filler ?
(even three times per sentence sometimes)
Guest   Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:59 pm GMT
Maybe they have nothing better to say?
Guest   Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:09 pm GMT
like, you know, there's like, a thread on, like, "like", as well, ya know? What next? like, another, like, thread, on, like "um" or, like, "er", ya know, eh?
Travis   Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:18 pm GMT
One should note, though, that "you know?" is commonly used in some English dialects, such as that here in southeastern Wisconsin, as a tag question analogous to "innit?" in English English dialects.
Guest   Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:05 am GMT
Because it's how they talk... If you don't like it, go knit in front of the fire...
Humble   Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:59 am GMT
James Grover Thurber (1894 - 1961), The Spreading "You Know" :

The latest blight to afflict the spoken word in the United States is the rapidly spreading reiteration of the phrase, "you know". I don't know just when it began moving like a rainstorm through the language, but I tremble at its increasing garbling of meaning, ruining of rhythm, and drumming upon my hapless ears.
[... (very interesting indeed - Humble) ...]
I am reluctantly making notes for a possible future volume to be called A Farewell to Speech or the Decline and Fall of King's English. I hope and pray that I shall not have to write the book. Maybe everything, or at least the language, will clear up before it is too late. Let's face it, it better had, that's for sure, and I don't mean maybe.
Guest   Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:32 am GMT
Why is it a 'blight'?

I think the frequent use of 'indeed' by the older generation is much more of a blight than 'you know'.
Caspian   Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:17 am GMT
It seems to imply insecurity and ignorance about whatever the person is talking; They don't know what they want to say so they just say 'you know'.
MythBuster   Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:29 am GMT
It seems to me like a speech efficiency mechanism. Why recite details which are already known to both people in the conversation? Saying 'you know' allows the speaker to verify whether the listener is aware of the details, in the case that he does know the speaker can then skip over pointless explanation and get straight to the juicy new info.
Caspian   Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:51 am GMT
Actually, that's incorrect. This is normally said before the other person has been told the details of the conversation, a bit like stuttering. "Oh, because - you know, because - you know - I need to see her."
hurrrrrrghhhhh   Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:51 pm GMT
None of these complaints are new, as demonstrated by Humble up there. Deal with it and stop whining.
Achab   Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:16 pm GMT
LOL, the precious little words that sometimes linguists call discourse markers have inspired the opening of quite a lot of threads recently, haven't they?

I think of "you know" as mostly a filler to keep the speech running, i.e. to enhance fluency. It makes it looser, allowing you to stay away from embarassed silence during those moments when you have to pause a little to think what you have to say next.

Having said that, I find MythBuster's comment a very interesting one. I had never looked at "you know" like this, namely as a way to continuously cut to the chase during a conversation. The more I think about this, the more I think it may well work that way too.

Happy fluency,

Achab   Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:22 pm GMT

Where did you find that fantastic piece by the great Thurber? I haven't been able to track it onliune. Did you personally transcribe it from an ink-and-paper book?


Guest   Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:43 pm GMT
I am not a teenager nor a young adult and I utilize it incessantly, you know?
Humble   Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:09 am GMT
Achab, I happen to have it in a book bought long ago.
Here's some more from it:
One man, in a phone conversation with me last summer, used the phrase thirty-four times in about five minutes, by my own count; a young matron in Chicago got seven 'you knows' into one wavy sentence, and I have also heard it as far west as Denver, where an otherwise charming woman at a garden party in august said it almost as often as a whip-poor-will says 'Whip-poor-will' [...]
My unfortunate tendency to count 'you knows' is practically making a female whip-poor-will out of me. Listening to a radio commentator , not long ago, discussing a recent meeting of the United Nations, I thought I was going mad when I heard him using 'you know' as a noun, until I realized that he had shortened United Nations Organization to U.N.O. and was pronouncing it, you know, as if it were 'you know'.
A typical example of speech you-knowed to death goes like this.
'The other day I saw, you know,Harry Johnson, the, you know, former publicity man for, you know, the Charteriss Publishing Company, and, you know, what he wanted to talk about, strangely enough, was, you know, something you'd never guess ...'