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Sometimes we use words in speech that we might not use in other, more formal, situations. This often happens with words such as "like" and "you know." Have you ever seen a transcript of yourself after you've been recorded? 

It's like, you know, the worst, you know? 

And when you're checking a transcript, usually you can't change it because you've already said what you're going to say, they just want you to check it and see if they accidentally transcribed the word "whore wheeeee!" instead of hoary or something. I have discovered, though, that nothing shows off fun little speech habits better than the language acquisition of a child.

My daughter is now almost three. As her language developed, I found I was surprised by many of her speech patterns and habits. I would wonder things like, " Where does that chipmunk laugh come from?" only to find it was an exact replica of my very own special laugh, but in a higher register, heh.

The one that I've noticed recently is the word "just." 

"I just putting this here." 
"I just taking baby for walk." 
"I just putting this whole thing in my mouf."

I heard it for a long time before it slowly sunk in that she used the word "just" an awful lot. I started to wonder where it came from. I also started feeling a little uneasy about it. Then, I listened to myself (never do that, seriously). I realized with horror that I used the word "just" CON-STANT-LEEEEEE! Blargh! 

Now, it's a "thing." I can't stop hearing it every.damn.time I use it. And I've started trying to use it less because I was truly horrified, nay frozen with horror, at well, at just how much I used it. Now it's lost all meaning to me. I started wondering 1. what the hell is wrong with me? and 2. what the fuck does this word even mean anyway? 

Because of the internets, I looked it up on This seems to be the closest definition that fits my usage:
9. within a brief preceding time; but a moment before: The sun just came out.
10. exactly or precisely: This is just what I mean.
11. by a narrow margin; barely: The arrow just missed the mark.
12. only or merely: He was just a clerk until he became ambitious.
13. actually; really; positively: The weather is just glorious.

I've also started noticing when everyone else is using it. It seems like others use it a lot too, but I'm not sure if they really are, or if I'm just (augh!) hyper-aware of it. 

I also don't know what to DO with this knowledge now. I can't start some kind of campaign. I don't really need to make people aware of it. I guess I should write a blog post and go back to trying to ignore the whole thing. Swallow it down like it was my own just-filled vomit and go on with my life. And, well, that's just what I'm going to do. 


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