Duane Campbell dcamp911 at JUNO.COM
Fri Dec 7 03:46:40 UTC 2001

There are words that come onto my radar screen because of a dramatic
increase in their use. And there are words which catch my interest and I
become more aware of them. But it seems to me that there has been a
recent explosion in the use of the word "basically." Watch the call-ins
on C-SPAN Journal (which, if othing else, is an interesting cohort).

I find it very irritating and yet seductive. Unlike other fill words (I'm
sure, like, you professionals have, you know, a term for that), this one
seems to have some substance, a substance that might be of interest to
linguists. I am seeing it used in a context that indicates a recognition,
however subliminal, that language cannot relate the entirety of any
situation. So basically its use acknowledges the limits of language in
people who probably are not basically aware of language.

Has anyone else noticed this?


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