Tuesday, March 3, 1998 at 12:20:22

could the repeated "know what I'm saying?" or "understand?" qualify as fills? How about " can you dig it?"

- RA

Technically, expressions such as "Know what I'm saying?", "Understand?", or even "Can you dig it?" fall in the same class as "You know?" and "You see" and have been referred to as 'appealers' and 'empathizers' by linguists. However, they may still fulfill some of the same functions as FPs (filled pauses).  That is, they may stall while the listener prepares the next utterance.  While they are saying this appealer, they are effectively keeping hold of the conversational ball, and if they resume speaking immediately after such an expression no slight is felt by their conversational partner (i.e., they sound 'fluent').  You know, an interesting field of study might be to organize a list of these kinds of appealers and empathizers from both historical and cultural perspectives. One might find a lot of these that have gone out of style and others that are particular to one sociocultural group.

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