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In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but has not yet finished speaking. These are not to be confused with placeholder names, such as thingamajig, whatsamacallit, whosawhatsa and whats'isface, which refer to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown. Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds; in English, the most common filler sounds are uh , er , and um . Among youths, the fillers "like", "y'know", "I mean", "so", "actually", "basically", and "right" are among the more prevalent. Ronald Reagan was famous for beginning his answers to questions with "Well...", as President Barack Obama often begins statements with "Look...". Fillers fall into the category of formulaic language.
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