The litter of “y’know” in speech is so annoying to me that I have to turn off my radio or change the station when I hear it. I am so distracted that I cannot focus on what the person is saying. Today on my local PBS station (WNYC fm) there was a man who mastered it so well that he even uttered double shots of the phrase. The first utterance was in a normal voice and it was followed by a second one in a softer, lower register (almost muttering). Frequently, he used it several times in a single sentence.
Why do professional speakers do it? Why don’t they know they are doing it? Why don’t they go for speech therapy? Why doesn’t anyone suggest they go for therapy.
Those who do this come from every group you can think of: rich, poor, educated or not, intelligent or not.
This awful habit seriously detracts from the message they are trying to deliver. Why do they treat it as punctuation?
Another word that is abused is “like.” As you know, the word means “similar to.” So what do these people mean when they say “It’s like hot outside” or “It’s like a lot of money”?