LINGUIST List 30.4890

Sat Dec 28 2019

Disc: I am crazy

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 20-Dec-2019
Subject: I am crazy
E-mail this message to a friend

Hello. I'm not really sure if this is the correct place to ask this question. Hopefully this makes sense and I'm not insane.

I listen to a variety of podcasts at work, where I've noticed a growing trend among hosts that also seems to bleed into real life conversation. When explaining something, making a point or even presenting factual information, they tend to end the sentence with "or whatever". Example: "the main character is a cop or whatever." Or, "it'll probably be like, 2030, or whatever."

I notice this phrase used most frequently in casual conversation amongst a small group. My question is: why is this so common? What message does the speaker convey when they use "or whatever"? They present information that is relevant to the conversation, then drop "or whatever" at the end.

Is it used in insecurity, as the speaker isn't confident in what they're saying? Or is it used to allow the listener to sort of inject their own thoughts into what the other person is saying?

This is becoming a huge pet peeve of mine, I constantly hear many different people end their sentences with "or whatever" completely unnecessarily. Am I crazy or is there some sort of linguistic logic that can be applied to this?

Thanks for reading

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Page Updated: 28-Dec-2019