Well, Uh...She's Got A Cool Name

Linguistic disfluencies:

Ms. Fox Tree studies other discourse markers like you know, I mean and oh, and is working on so and and. Her dream topic is like.

"I waited before I got tenure to study 'like,'" she confessed, "because I thought it was going to be messy and hard to get a hold of, and I would spend all this time studying it."

Inefficiency: a sign of independence.

But it may be Nicholas Christenfeld, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, and other researchers who have come up with the most appealing findings. He counted uhs among professors giving lectures and found that the humanities professors say you know and uh 4.85 times per minute, social scientists 3.84 and natural science professors 1.39 times, which, he said, suggests that humanists have more expressive options from which to choose.

And for those trying to minimize their verbal tics, Mr. Christenfeld also found that drinking alcohol reduces ums.