Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thingamajigs And The World Of Seemingly Useless Words

Sometimes you can't find the words to say what you mean, and we don't mean in the lovey-dovey mushy way. You'll find that spoken language is completely full words and sounds that have no real meaning other than to convey that you don't actually know what you're about to say.

Listen to a recording of yourself speaking and you'll quickly find that there is in fact a multitude of nonsensical sounds that you make as you speak. Our brains are tuned to omit these sounds and words as they serve no purpose other than to buy the speaker time as their conscience formulates the remainder of the sentence.

These verbal fillers include uhm, er, eh, ah, and anything else you tend to use whilst you find the words you actually want to use. They are incredibly important in spoken language. Without them, we could lose track of what we were saying, have awkward pauses, and generally look like idiots.

This is an actual Whatchamacallit, a Hershey candy bar.
For a while they had a bar called the Thingamajig too!
Clearing your throat, extending the end of words to fill the gaps, and general phrases such as "like", "you know?", and the ever popular Canadian phrase "eh?", though seemingly useless, are actually very helpful when it comes to enabling us to talk.

This phenomenon of being linguistically forgetful is so common that we even have words for words that we can't remember. Thingamajigdoohickey, doodad, wotsit, and whatchamacallit are all excellent examples that the wonderful human race has created to facilitate the fact that sometimes you just can't remember what the hell you're talking about. So don't worry about it.

Do you have any other examples of pointless words that describe the undescribeable? Tell us about them in the comments below.