"It’s a perfectly valid description of a particular phenomenon. It’s that sad and depressed feeling you get when you realize that no matter how great and majestic and important something is at the time, in time it’s going to pass. Just like the poem - eventually, time kills everything. It’s…
“People are faced, in life, with choosing between reality and fantasy. And it’s very pleasant to choose fantasy but that way lies madness and you’re forced finally to choose reality. And reality always disappoints, always hurts you…”—Woody Allen (via thecolorgray)
“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a read yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”—Ulysses (1922) - James Joyce
“…he was watching me whenever he got an opportunity at the band on the Alameda esplanade when I was with father and captain Grove I looked up at the church first and then at the windows then down and our eyes met I felt something go through me like all needles my eyes were dancing I remember after when I looked at myself in the glass hardly recognised myself the change…”—Ulysses (1922) - James Joyce
“¡Oh, la tortura del primer amor, de la primera desilusión! ¡Cuando se lucha con el pasado, en lugar de olvidarlo! Así persistía yo antes en tender mi pecho blando, a los mismo recuerdos, a las mismas iras, a los mismos duelos.”—María Luisa Bombal — La amortajada (1938)
“Your wolves have more wit than your maester," the wildling woman said. "They know truths the grey man has forgotten." The way she said it made him shiver, and when he asked what the comment meant, she answered, "Blood and fire, boy, and nothing sweet.”—George R. R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
“First off, Ana stopped being home all the time, and Oscar found himself stacking messages on her machine: This is Oscar, a bear is chewing my legs off, please call me; This is Oscar, they want a million dollars or it’s over, please call me; This is Oscar, I’ve just spotted a strange meteorite and I’m going over to investigate. She always got back to him after a couple of days, and was pleasant about it, but still.”—Junot Díaz - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“All men lie when they are afraid. Some tell many lies, some but a few. Some have only one great lie they tell so often that they almost come to believe it … though some small part of them will always know that it is still a lie, and that will show upon their faces”—George R.R. Martin (The Kindly Man)- A Feast for Crows
Sometime in 1492, less than twenty years after the introduction of printing in Spain, Elio Antonio de Nebrija, historiographer royal to Queen Isabella, published in Salamanca a grammar of the Castilian language, the first such work ever compiled for a European vernacular. A grammar is a typical work of what one might call the encyclopedic mentality to which Renaissance Europe aspired and that was to sustain its vaunted scientific method: it is intended to be all-inclusive and exhaustive, neutral and nonjudgmental, ostensibly without political point of view or social purpose, and meant only to be a list, a catalogue, an inventory.
"What is it for?" Isabella is said to have asked, in a burst of practicality, when Nebrija’s bok was presented to her by a royal courtier.
"Your majesty," the courtier is reported to have answered, "language has always been the companion of empire".
”—Kirkpatrick Sale—Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise
“How they loved to promise heads, these men who would be king. “Your brother promised me the same. But if truth be told, I would sooner have my daughters back, and leave justice to the gods. Cersei still holds my Sansa, and of Arya there has been no word since the day of Robert’s death.”—George R. R. Martin (Catelyn Stark) A Clash of Kings
“Every night Arya would say their names. “Ser Gregor,” she’d whisper to her stone pillow. “Dunsen, Polliver, Chiswyck, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Amory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei.” Back in Winterfell, Arya had prayed with her mother in the sept and with her father in the godswood, but there were no gods on the road to Harrenhal, and her names were the only prayer she cared to remember.”—George R. R. Martin A Clash of Kings
“Oh, to be sure, there is much we do not understand. The years pass in their hundreds and their thousands, and what does any man see of life but a few summers, a few winters? We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.”—George R. R. Martin (Maester Luwin) A Clash of Kings
“The islands were too small for awe, and a longship smaller still. If every captain was a king aboard his own ship, as was often said, it was small wonder they named the islands the land of ten thousand kings. And when you have seen your kings shit over the rail and turn green in a storm, it was hard to bend the knee and pretend they were gods.”—George R. R. Martin A Clash of Kings
“A Crew of Pyrates are driven by a Storm they know not whither, at length a Boy discovers Land from the Top-mast, they go on Shore to Rob and Plunder; they see an harmless People, are entertained with Kindness, they give the country a new Name, they take formal Possession of it for their King, they set up a rotten Plank or a Stone for a Memorial, they murder two or three Dozen of the Natives, bringing away a Couple more by Force for a Sample, return home, and get their Pardon. Here commences a new Dominion acquired with a Title by Divine Right. Ships are sent with the first Opportunity, the natives driven out or destroyed, their Princes tortured to discover their Gold; a free Licence given to all Acts of Inhumanity and lust, the Eart reeking with the Blood of its Inhabitants: and this execrable Crew of Butchers employed in so pious an Expedition, is a modern Colony sent to convert and civilize an idolatrous and barbarous People.”—Jonathan Swift—Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
Every language has its own version of um. French has euh, Korean eum, Finnish öö, Russian eh; even sign languages have signs for um. The fact that most languages have some kind of um suggests that it serves a natural and important language function.
So what is this important language function? Why do people say um? Not because they are nervous. Scholarly studies of the word reveal that the use of um does not correlate with anxiousness or any particular personality traits. Rather, um is used to signal an upcoming pause—usually uh for a short pause and um for a longer pause. The pause may be needed in order to find the right word, remember something temporarily forgotten, or repair a mistake. Um holds the floor for us while we do our mental work. It buys some time for thinking.