September 16, 2014

Fingerprint Words

Last week Slate had an interesting piece about "fingerprint words"--specific words that we use with such frequency that they are part of our signature speech style--and about how we react both to others' fingerprint words and to other people copycatting our own.

It made me wonder what my own fingerprint words are. I play right into the stereotype of Southern Californians by being an egregious abuser of both "awesome" and "totally." (In my defense, "totally" is pretty versatile!) At the other end of the spectrum are "plethora" and "discrete," along with variations on "regard" ("regarding" and "in regards to").

I've also been guilty of picking up a few choice words and phrases from K over the course of our relationship. Unfortunately, they all seem to be swear words. (Let's just say there's a rood eason people say "cursing like a sailor," not "eloquently expounding like a sailor.")

What are your fingerprint words? How do you react when you hear other people using them?

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