Gretchen McCulloch stakes out her position on filler words:
Another article unnecessarily criticizing filler words, this time in the New York Times; another blog post debunking it, this time by Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein. Excerpt of the blog post:
Among the many types of discourse markers are a subset sometimes known as verbalized pauses. People who are not linguists also call them “filler words” and “verbal crutches,” but those terms are misleading.
Why don’t we just get rid of them, the NYT article asks. After all, “verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart.”
McCulloch’s post links to the original Times article and to the response by Barchas-Lichtenstein. She goes on to list five reasons we might use filler words. There’s lots to read and think about here, but it’s definitely worth it.