Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fingerprint Words

This article is so interesting! I love it when I read about something that I didn't realize was a "thing" until I read about it, though I had realized it in my own life before, if not as concretely as it is explained here.

Like the author of the article did, I asked my husband what words I say all the time, and it took him less than a second to say, "essentially." Haha! Which is essentially true...
You should try it! Ask your significant other if there's any words that you over use, and let me know what they are, so we can all laugh at each other.

I know I have more than I can think of at the moment, but the other words that came to mind that I use a lot are "seriously" (I try so hard never to use "literally" incorrectly by the original definition) and "incidentally." I know my signature words shift, too, and I always get a kick out of imagining what I'll be unwittingly saying too much a year from now.

I would argue that families can have fingerprint words too. Probably because everyone lives in close proximity, or was heavily imprinted by the conversation in their houses growing up. It's not like we're unaware of this, but I've never heard anyone outside my family use the exclamation "Sam Hill!" Actually, pretty much just my mom says it now, but at one point, more of us were prone to saying it. It's from a scene in To Kill A Mockingbird where Scout is indignant about how much syrup is poured on a stack of pancakes, and she says, "what in sam hill are you doing?!" Does your family have any signature phrases? Made-up stuff doesn't count.

I think it's pretty interesting what the Slate article had to say about adopting other people's words too. We have this friend Jaren who used to say "dog" all the time, as in, "dog, that is so cool!" (kind of like "dude", I guess?). We use to make good-natured fun of him for it all the time, but at some point, I internalized it from saying it so much in jest, and now it's a signature exclamation of mine that people comment on. I don't know if Jaren even uses it anymore.

The same thing happens when I'm engrossed in a book or TV series - I find myself adopting the tone of the writing, and sometimes it totally (that's another word I use all the time, ahhh!) irritates (that one too) me to realize that I'm doing it, but not be able to stop it.

Although not quite the same, most of you will also appreciate that I realize how often I start a sentence with, "I once heard a podcast about...". Right?!

In an entirely different sense of the fingerprint words, how crazy is this condition called dermatographia? The caption to this photo says, "I have dermatographia, a condition in which one’s immune system releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the hypersensitive skin’s surface is lightly scratched. This allows me to painlessly draw on my skin with just enough time to photograph the results." Kind of scary, kind of totally (there it is again!!!) awesome. 

Do you have a fingerprint word, or words? Please do share! 

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