Oh, Wow! Creating a Buzz about Filler Words, Interjections, and Onomatopoeia

In my latest video in the Language Notes series, I tackle a sizable list of filler words, interjections, and onomatopoeic words. I don’t see learners walking away with all items memorized, but my hope is that they will understand the concept of each word group and retain my words of so-called wisdom about trying to incorporate the use of such words in their own speech. I demonstrate how the elimination of filler words actually creates smoother, more confident speech. I also caution students against some of the ruder interjections, such as duh! 

Here are more ideas for a lesson on this topic.

  • Find out how familiar your students are with filler words, interjections, and onomatopoeia. Use my Language Notes_8_classroom slides to test their present knowledge before watching the video.
  • After watching the video, you can make use of an activity to help students recall the language presented.
  1. Filler Words, Interjections, and Onomatopoeia_handout A This exercise may produce humorous results during pair work. The two fill-in-the-blank dialogs were designed in the popular Mad Libs style.
  2. Filler Words, Interjections, and Onomatopoeia_handout B  This exercise was also created for pair work. Careful listening is needed to meet the challenge of supplying the necessary sound effects for two short narratives.
  3. Filler Words, Interjections, and Onomatopoeia_handout C  This exercise helps students understand register. You may choose to have students work alone, in pairs, or in a small group as they rewrite a dialog with more polite speech.
  • Please invite students to try my interactive exercises to review on their own.
  • Schoolhouse Rock still rocks with their old videos on grammar and punctuation. Click here for their video on interjections.
  • Digging in the TV archives of Electric Company led to this video on onomatopoeia. You can have students match sounds to events on flashcards: canon – boom, cork – pop, diving – splash, etc.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Arun Goyal says:

    The video on interjections is well done, specially the totality of the expressions of face and hand gestures. It is a building block for not only English but serves all languages. (I am learning persian or farsi where sounds and word extensions are the key)
    One suggestion, Jennifer. Please introduce complex words like onomatopeia (sp?) in the intro. Also, give a slide on what you are going to cover in the next part at the end of the presentation.
    At some point, you may consider putting all your 300 or so videos in a single hypertext. It will be fantastic. I will recommend you for a big award from the English promoters like British Council.
    Good luck…
    Arun Goyal

    1. Hello Arun,

      I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. It’s always a challenge to decide how best to present the information and what to cut out due to time constraints. I’ll explain onomatopoeia in the intro of Part 2.

      Awards would be nice, but I’m content to have the support of viewers such as yourself. 🙂

      Kind wishes,

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