A word or phrase (or several) that becomes defining characteristics of a person's speech. It can either denote a particular geographic upbringing, is in y'all or ayeah or it can be more particular to an individual or group like family slang. For example, a friend of mine when faced with someone else's tragedies, will routinely say, "It gets hard." I have been accused of having ohmigod as my key phrase but I am trying to wean myself of it and am looking for a new one.

Verbal mannerisms can be catching, like accents or even physical mannerisms, if you're around them enough, or just suggestable enough. I sometimes feel like my speech is a scrapheap of the people i've spoken to in concentrated doses. Or maybe, it's a scrapbook, a verbal collection of memorabilia and mementos. Hm.

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