It’s not usually my style to rant about things, but.
This. Bugs. Me.
I know it’s not new and it is a phrase used in earnest at times. When teaching children whatever we teach them, we want to make sure they understand.
Now? It is used like a period. Or an “eh” (OK, I’ll allow that is more of a Canadian thing). Or a thoughtless way to end a phrase. It drives me nuts and they do it in English and in French. Actually, there are two in English.
Do you understand?
Do you know what I mean?
Jee-zus. It is patronizing, insulting and annoying. And the worst part? Those who use it don’t even realise they are using it. All. The. Time. It has become a habit, an addendum, if you will.
Where once you had the Valley-girl talk, where ‘like’ and ‘totally’ are inserted willy-nilly, words are drawn out and phrases are singsongy with upswings inserted here and there so the speaker sounds like they are questioning themselves in insecurity. (Okay, there is STILL a lot of “liking” going on…)
Then there is the vocal fry. Oh. Em. Gee… I’ve only ever heard women do this. It’s when the voice goes all the way down and becomes gravelly and sounds like they are running out of air. It is the worst. And not only does it sound particularly annoying, it is apparently rough on the vocal chords.
Which brings me back to my main pet peeve. You understand?
I was listening to “Q the Music” with Tom Power a while ago and I cannot even remember the name of the musician he was interviewing but every friggen sentence ended with a “D’you know what I mean?” Had I been Tom, I would have said: “YES! I, too, am a musician, and understand what you are talking about!” However, he remained polite throughout. Good on you, Tom. I had to turn off the interview after five minutes.
I was having a simple conversation with a young, twenty-something co-worker who was probably bitching about work and saying stuff like “I’m so tired of doing double shifts, do you understand?” Or, “She is so bossy, telling me what to do instead of doing it herself, d’you understand?” Yeah, Bud, I know. I work here, too.
Him: So, we gotta take this piece off, first, you understand?
Me: Yes, gotcha.”
Him: Coz if this piece stays on, it’ll block the doohickey, understand?
Him: So after this piece comes off, then we twist this, understand?
Me: Uh huh.
By now, I’m ready to understand him against the wall.