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2007: Year of the Tch?

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2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 12.10.2007 4:26 am

This has been driving me nuts for a while now, and you folks are the only ones I can turn to on this.

As we all know, each language has slang terms that come and go. I am beginning to suspect that certain speech-related habits or mannerisms may be subject to the same thing. I have noticed a certain phenomenon which seems to have picked up quite a lot in American speech, but since I am not in America I have no way to get confirmation if what I suspect is true through personal observation; that's where you guys come in.

For the last few years I have been downloading certain American radio programs and listening to them while I'm at work. And on call-in shows I have noticed over course of the last year or so that there seems to have been an inexplicable boom in the number of people who have the EXTREMELY ANNOYING habit of adding a little tooth-sucking "tch" sound at the beginning or end of phrases.

It stands out to me because I first got sensitized to it a few years ago while trying to listen to a lecture series on Herodotus. The lecturer couldn't go more than about three words without throwing in a loud TCH reminiscent of Victor Borge's audible punctuation bit. She was so damned annoying that I had to quit the series and never did find out what happened to Herodotus. I hope he's alright.

So tell me......Is it just my imagination? Or has there been an epidemic of TCHing in America this year?
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Wakannai » Mon 12.10.2007 6:04 am

I think it is regional.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby TrashTreasurer » Mon 12.10.2007 6:04 am

I haven't heard of this problem or experienced it in any way until you've just brought it to my attention. I want to get to the bottom of this, is there anywhere online I could have a listen and see for myself if I've been hearing it all along and subconsciously drowning it out? If I live in a nation of TCHers who aren't aware of their own problem, methinks it's about time I get out of here...
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Noob » Mon 12.10.2007 7:05 am

I am fully aware of the common TCH sounds. "Dontcha" (don't you) "wontcha" (won't you) etc...
I am unaware of any other usage other than people using it as a "Tisk tisk tisk" sound, or calling a cat.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Gundaetiapo » Mon 12.10.2007 7:35 am

Can't say I know what you're referring to. Do you have a link to some audio?
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 12.10.2007 7:40 am

I really have no idea how to spell the sound. It's sort of a sucking/clicking sound that defies spelling and "tch" was my attempt at it. It is unconnected with the sound of the words it is used with and appears at the beginning or end of phrases. It is usually very subtle and consequently easy to miss....unless you find it annoying.

Since I have very little (close to zero) opportunity for face-to-face verbal interactions with other English speakers I don't fall into the normal pattern of picking up new slang and the like unconsciously. That leaves me sensitive to noticing some things from listening to a variety of folks calling in to radio shows.

Other common things I notice:

Overuse/misuse of words: "basically" (an oldie but a goodie), "actually" (very popular this year), and "per se" which has really picked up in the last few months. Add to these "exactly" and "I know" when used as aizuchi.

And let us not get started on misuse of past perfect and the inability to distinguish between nominative and objective case pronouns. I'm primarily wondering if others have noticed the gratuitous tooth sucking thing or not.

EDIT:

I found something on YouTube which has the sound, but not in the same context. Imagine the sound done (usually) much more subtly and either starting or ending a word.

Link to video
The video is only 17 seconds and the sound is in the last 2 seconds.
Last edited by Mike Cash on Mon 12.10.2007 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 12.10.2007 10:33 am

if you are speaking of the sound at the beginning of each sentence.. then I notice it. it sounds to me like someone popping their tongue on the roof of their mouth as they open it, when they get close to the mic.

color commentary on radio especially sports commentary is rampant with missused words. physicality, healthful and a wide variety of words used by those heard by many have become commonplace amongst those that follow.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby AJBryant » Mon 12.10.2007 11:00 am

I've not noticed the "tch" thing, but I *have* noticed the increasing lack of a grasp of past perfect and general basic grammar. Apparently, it's not taught as ruthlessly or as seriously in schools anymore, and the proliferation of TV shows -- especially talk shows and reality "court" shows populated by the less well educated (what we used to call "trailer park trash") elements of society mean that more and more TV watchers are being exposed to substandard and improper English.

I've even heard basic grammar mistakes coming from commercials on the radio (where one would think that time would be taken to hone the writing).

One bad commercial I remember yelling at the radio for was something about insurance, and it went something like this: "California, along with several other states, have decided to enact penalties for blah blah blah." Drove me BATSHIT.


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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 12.10.2007 11:16 am

What do you mean by "lack of a grasp of past perfect"? Do you mean people using nonstandard past perfect forms like "He had drank a lot that night" or "it had froze to the car"?
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Mon 12.10.2007 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby kitamichibi » Mon 12.10.2007 11:33 am

Wakannai wrote:
I think it is regional.


Totally true! :D
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Dehitay » Mon 12.10.2007 12:01 pm

If you're referring to the 3 simultaneous clicks of the tongue, they are commonly used as a sign of disappointment in somebody or something. If somebody was to say something incredibly stupid, I might hang my head and nod it left and right giving those 3 tch's.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby JaySee » Mon 12.10.2007 12:36 pm

AJBryant wrote:
but I *have* noticed the increasing lack of a grasp of past perfect and general basic grammar.


You have to realise though that change/adaptation (or deterioration as some would call it) is actually something natural to language in general which has been going on since humans first started talking, so I really don't see why people need to get all wound up about it. If people living 100 years ago would listen to you speaking, they would probably make a comment similar to the one you made here about the way you say things.
Last edited by JaySee on Mon 12.10.2007 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 12.10.2007 12:52 pm

Dehitay wrote:
If you're referring to the 3 simultaneous clicks of the tongue, they are commonly used as a sign of disappointment in somebody or something. If somebody was to say something incredibly stupid, I might hang my head and nod it left and right giving those 3 tch's.


I'm referring to the exact same sound, done once, very subtly, and almost seamlessly integrated with the first or last syllable of a phrase. By "phrase" I mean any group of words where a person pauses when speaking and not necessarily a sentence.

For example:

The other dayTCH.....I went to my friend's houseTCH.....

That's alright........TCHdon't worry about it.

Start listening carefully when women are talking (especially to other women) and tell me if you don't notice this going on. I think it's one of those things that if you're surrounded by it all the time you don't even notice it.

----------------------------------

Regarding the misuse of the past perfect thing, I'm talking about people using past perfect in an attempt to sound "correct" or "official" when the simple past tense is what is actually required. I most often notice it when people are trying to tell a story in a way to make themselves sound good and they seem to be trying to mimic what they think is the tone/usage in official documents (such as police reports), probably because they think such language sounds detached and lends an air of disinterested third-party credibility to their version of events. The more someone misuses past perfect in such cases, the more I'm certain they're whitewashing things.
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby kitamichibi » Mon 12.10.2007 1:11 pm

Well, where I'm currently living, the TCH is used as a starting point (sorry, can't think of anything better to describe it..) for conversations, though it's mainly with friends.
eg: Are you going to the mall later?

Tch, maybe, I have nothing better to do.
or
Is everything alright?
Tch, I'm fine

Though in some cases it's usually used for sarcasm.
eg: Did you do your homework this time?
Tch, ya think?

That's how it's used in this country I'm in at the moment.... ;)
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RE: 2007: Year of the Tch?

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 12.10.2007 1:16 pm

Progress!!! At least someone finally knows what I'm talking about! Thank you.
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