You’re so syllable

I can’t say I’ve always wondered about this, but I must acknowledge the truth of the matter:

It has been noted that “Uh”s and/or “Uhm”s in linguistic, cultural and situational settings can perform varying functions not only according to their timing and their intonation, but also dependent on their position in a sentence.

Curiously, I tend to use “um” here and “uh” in fiction. I’m not quite sure why I make the distinction.

(Via the Local Malcontent.)







5 comments

  1. Roger Green »

    10 October 2012 · 7:16 pm

    Uh, very, um, interesting.

  2. KingShamus »

    10 October 2012 · 7:53 pm

    President Obama seems to favor “uh”, except when he goes with “um”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=819q62ZMYVk

  3. jsallison »

    10 October 2012 · 8:04 pm

    Well, um, y’know, uh, like, Squirrel!

  4. CGHill »

    10 October 2012 · 8:37 pm

    “Do I look like I speak squirrel?” — Twilight Sparkle

  5. fillyjonk »

    11 October 2012 · 7:05 am

    And it’s rendered as “Er” in British English, which tends to be non-rhotic.

    And in French, it’s more like “euhhhhh…” Back when I could still speak French reasonably well, I would often find myself involuntarily using that form as the pause in a sentence. (When I was speaking French, not English). I suppose it has something to do with much of French being sounded further back on the palate….

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