"Whedon's voice is so distinct that 'Buffy Speak' has become a mode of language unto its own - one codified by a jumbling of nouniness and adjectiviage into languagey-bits that sound like your brain forgot words before spontaneously re-remembering them."
Any of a variety of speech patterns used to indicate that a character, while intelligent, is perhaps too young, too inexperienced and/or insufficiently educated (or simply talks too fast) to properly express the complex ideas and thoughts that they clearly possess.
One of the most obvious elements is a lack of relevant vocabulary, leading to both unconventional adjectival-noun structures like "shooty-gun thing", and incomplete, floundering similes that turn back on themselves in frustration: "That idea went over like... like... like a thing that doesn't go over very well." Metaphorgotten is frequently a side effect. Often includes Oh God, with the Verbing! or similar. And sometimes Name McAdjective is employed.
The Giver of Lame Names is often a serious offender. This trope, for example, would probably be called Dialogue-Where-The-Speaker's-Intent-Exceeds-Their-Powers-Of-Vocabulary-For-Comedic-Effect, if left up to him.
When properly handled, Buffy Speak can give the sense of a teenaged group's special jargon or argot without necessarily imitating anything actually found in the real world (which is part of his purpose in general. Slang language, especially for the younger set, tends to change at warp speed. Buffy Speak allows a level of timelessness that helps avoid Totally Radical tropes.) Improperly handled, it can sound ludicrously fake and may damage Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
Named for the distinctive speech patterns of the teenage characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show's creator, Joss Whedon, is often credited with "creating" this form of writing (also called Whedonspeak), though in reality it existed long before Buffy.
Contrast with Totally Radical. Compare Person as Verb. See also Shaped Like Itself and Department of Redundancy Department. Contrast Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
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That Thing Where They Try To Get You To Buy Their Stuff (Advertising)
Snapple's slogan is "Made from the best stuff on Earth". They had a commercial where an employee finds better stuff. Everyone refers to it as simply "stuff". "We've got better stuff." "What stuff?" "This stuff." "I like that stuff."
Japanese Cartoony Things (Anime)
In the YuYu Hakusho dub, on the way to Sensui's hideout, Yuusuke asks Kurama what the seeds he's spreading around are for, and our favorite red-haired Bishōnen goes into an explanation about lighting their way, trailing off into phosphorus and bread crumbs. In that case, it sounded more like Kurama (who is a Really 700 Years OldChessmaster) was trying to Buffy-Speak so that Yusuke would understand him.
From the Excel♥Saga dub: "I have built this wooden underling-like puppet with an optional soy sauce puffy thingy!"
In Fate/Zero, Rider calls stealth bombers 'big black B-2 thingies,' and he describes the Gate of Babylon as 'showing off with a lot of shiny-goldy things.'
Ali Al-Saachez from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 uses this trope to refer to his enemies, "Celestial-Whatchamacallit!". Not like "Being" is a hard word to say or remember, but try telling that to his face.
Blue Beetle: And you stink of... evil stink? Evilosity? Banter. Sucks. So much.
The sort-of pixie-like Preservers in ElfQuest apparently can't help but replace even simple words with ones smashed together from others. The silk they spit is "wrapstuff", elves are "highthings", humans are "bigthings", someone who's sleeping is "stillquiet"... This extends to the names of anyone who's not a Preserver, e.g. Dewshine, a blonde elf, becomes "Sunnygold Highthing" (despite the name being not that different from Preserver-names like "Petalwing" or "Berrybuzz"). Often they don't even use those names consistently, but make up a new one every time they refer to the same character. Preservers are also Third Person Persons. In short, they sound extremely ditzy.
Mainly from Empowered in the Meta breaks — and occasionally in the main story as well.
The Scott Pilgrim series is chock-full of this. "There's a thingy over there." "A thingy?" "A door.", "You're not going to the thing"?, "Scott, look out! It's that guy!", etc.
The Hippie Ponies refer to their all-natural health and beauty products as "Goops for Stuff".
In an issue of X-Men, Angel’s healing blood is being transfused to some of his teammates who have been crucified. Nurse Annie expresses her worries during the process noting, "Your healing thingie isn’t replacing your blood as fast as I’m draining it.”
Those Things People On The Internet Write From Other Things (Fan Fiction)
My Immortal. "Voldemort got a dude-ur-so-retarded look on his face."
In Forward, Jayne has a moment like this when he worried Simon will unleash his wrath on him.
Jayne: He's gonna... gonna doctor at me.
King Superman: Both the characters and author seem to use these from time to time, particularly the word 'scorpony'.
At one moment in the Mass Effect RP, "The Council Era", krogan Overlord Tikrog Kurvok makes use of buffy speak when referring to coffee, saying, "Give me a stimulant drink, to go. With extra energizer thingies." Kurvok repeatedly talks this way throughout the storyline.
In the fanfic "Princess", Julien describes female lemurs as having a "thing that looks like a... thing". According to Word of God, there are very few ways that are both in-character and PG-rated to describe an enlarged clitoris. He goes on to say that they "don't have the... other things, and they do have the... girl things".
The four are occasionally prone to this in With Strings Attached, either because of vocabulary failure, deliberate humor, or simple laziness.
In a Shout-Out to Help!, Ringo calls the Vasyn “the thingy.” (George calls it “the Big Pink Job,” hence the subtitle.)
The Little Mermaid has most of the song "Part of Your World" based on this when Ariel sings about her collection of land... gizmos, gadgets, whoosits, whatzits, and thingamabobs. She apparently improves her vocabulary as the song progresses, though. Probably justified, since she gets all her information about the names and functions of human artifacts from Scuttle, so it's likely she thinks those are the actual names for those objects.
Valentine from MirrorMask: "I will slip unnoticeable through the darkness like a dark, unnoticeable slippy thing." A notable example in that he doesn't hesitate at any point in the sentence. That's what he meant to say.
"We will do what rich people do! We will bathe in... fish! Eat our weight in... chocolate buttons! Learn to play the concertina!"
Brianna: Can you make it sound more like ME this time?, I'm so sick and tired of having to explain why I sound so smart on paper and so... not smart... not on paper
In Bad Boys II Det. Marcus Burnett is accidentally high on ecstasy when he and his partner go to ask their captain for a warrant. He is so out of it that his partner tries to send him on a fool's errand - call another detective and tell him... something...
Mike Lowrey: Tell Vargas... tell him... that thing we said to tell him...
The titular character of Juno has a most idiosyncratic syntax. "Prom is for weenises."
The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good. note And Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
In Help!, George Harrison realizes that the curling stone he just threw is actually a bomb, and exclaims, "Hey, it's a thingy! A fiendish thingy!"
Ace: I will be as a fly on the wall. A grain of salt in the ocean. I shall slip amongst them like a transparent... thing.
Characters in Burn After Reading do this constantly, especially Linda and Chad as they attempt to act like real spies. Some of the best moments are sentences of Chad's that he loses control of ("Looks can be... deceptive"), sometimes resorting to his go-to word ("I thought you might be worried... about the security... of your shit.")
Mayor: These folks are making us look like a bunch of... Oh, the ones who are very funny, kings have them... Send in my... Fool! They're making us look like a bunch of fools!
And he does something similar to this several times over the course of the movie.
In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter says to Alice, "You used to be much more... muchier. You've lost your muchness." Which is a reference to the book, where the Dormouse asks if Alice has ever seen a drawing of a muchness.
In The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard stumbles over the word "philanthropists", eventually calling them "good-deed doers".
A character in Hackers tells another that the MacGuffin has been put "in that place where I put that thing that time". Subverted because it was intentionally done by an intelligent character to sound vague. He was in jail at the time accused of federal hacking breaches, telling his friend where the evidence is over the phone.
In Spider-Man, when the "Human Spider" finds out he'll be in an impromptu cage match with "Bonesaw McGraw" (alerted by said cage lowering around the ring, the crowd chanting "CAGE!" repeatedly, and the guards complying with the announcer's request to "PLEEEASE LOCK THE CAGE DOOOOOOOOOOOOORS AT THIS TIIIIIIIME..."
Spidey-"Hey! Unlock the thing! Take the chain off!!!"
The Thing (1982): Unable to come up with a better term for them, the characters refer to the alien species as "Things". The subtitles capitalize this as the proper name for the creatures.
29 years later, most fans of the film still refer to them as "Things".
The Alien movies. Both "Alien" and "Xenomorph" are terms applied to the species, but it seems that no one in-universe has come up with a proper name for them over the course of a few hundred years since their discovery.
In Alien: Resurrection, Call actually refers to the Aliens as "Aliens", over the PA system, talking to the Aliens as if this were their real species name.
According to Ash : "According to Mother, he's a primitive form of encephlepod..."
Bank robber:(holds up a deadman switch detonator) You know what this is? Hancock: I'm guessing it's some sort of detonator-type deal.
Monsters Crash The Pajama Party. As part of the Credits Gag. In the opening credits, which are spoken rather than shown with Big G the Gorilla demonstrating the various actions, the camera is referred to as the "picture-taking machine."
Lots And Lots Of Words And Stuff Between Covers (Literature)
Pops up occasionally in Discworld. There was something similar to "Its eyes were as big as very big eyes"; lampshaded, in that the creature's eyes were traditionally described as being "as big as soup plates", but Tiffany had measured a soup plate and determined that they weren't. A substitute description was needed.
Pratchett really likes these "what's-that-thing" quips. Sourcery has several.
"What's dat fing? Dey goes all crumbly when you eat dem?"
"... could be a lawyer."
"Dey goes soggy if you dips them in somefing?"
"More likely to be a biscuit, then?"
(Some trolls have the full "intelligent but cannot properly express ideas" Buffy Speak trope, though others... don't.)
"Limited wossname. Doodah. Thingy. You know. It's got words in it."
"The thing that went 'parp' went parp."
Dwarfs, who are too literal to understand simile or metaphor, do this all the time.
Carrot (speaking about his dwarf girlfriend): "She's got a beard as soft as a very soft thing."
"She was as thin as a very thin thing."
There was also law passed by a former Patrician about metaphor and the like. If you're going to say a girl has "a face that launched a thousand ships" she'd damn well better have a champagne bottle for a head.
Granny Weatherwax offers this fine example, which is actually an excellent observation, in Wyrd Sisters: "Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things." (She's talking about stage-prop crowns versus a real crown; It Makes Sense in Context.)
The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series uses this trope constantly: "as fine as two fine things on a fine day out in Fineland", "staring like a staring thing", "as mad as two very mad things", "loony as a loon on loon pills."
The Georgia Nicolson books often refer to "snognosity". Not classic Buffy Speak, but definitely related.
"He abused my hospitality," booomed the earl. "I swore that if he ever again entered my domain I would have him gutted and dried like, like something that had been gutted."
Bertie Wooster (in both books and film/TV adaptations) frequently finds himself in the middle of an aphorism he can't complete without Jeeves' help. (The books are almost always narrated by Bertie but with a brilliant, effortless prose that a goof like Bertie would never be able to manage in real life and yet nonetheless seems plausible while you're reading it.)
Bertie: Let me tell you that a man without music in him is fit for... excuse me a moment. Jeeves, what was it Shakespeare said a man without music in him was fit for?
Jeeves: Treasons, stratagems, and spoils, sir.
Occasionally, he'll just barrel on through
Bertie: Jeeves, have you seen that play called I-forget-its-dashed-name?
The hero of H.P. Lovecraft's Beyond The Wall of Sleep is a man whose doctor recognizes as being possessed by some cosmic entity of superhuman intelligence who is struggling to express its metahuman thoughts and ideas through the man's stupid and backwoods brain and vocabulary.
"Big, big cabin with brightness in the roof and walls and floor, and the loud queer music far away..."
In That Hideous Strength, women are described as being able to "speak a language without nouns" when there are no men around and still be understood:
"If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, 'Put that in the other one in there.' And then if you ask them, 'in where?' they say, 'in there, of course.'"
In The Warlock by Michael Scott, Virginia Dare saves Billy the Kid from a 'raggedy lion-monster-thingy'. It's a sphinx.
Roswell High certainly uses this. For instance, from the first chapter of the first book "Guys. I'm so tired of their... guyness." Also, this series sort of becomes an interesting example of Buffy Speak, as it even uses the word "wiggins" a few times.
Don Quixote: Sancho doesn’t really understand that the insula he was promised as a Standard Hero Reward means an isle, as we see at Chapter II of the Second part:
"May evil insulas [islands] choke thee, thou detestable Sancho," said the niece; "What are insulas [islands]? Is it something to eat, glutton and gormandiser that thou art?"
"It is not something to eat," replied Sancho, "but something to govern and rule, and better than four cities or four judgeships at court."
The first official description for the Warrior Cats book The Ultimate Guide describes the book as having an "oversized, gift-y trim", whatever that means.
A Ramona Quimby book acknowledges this trope from Ramona's point of view, when she's told not to keep using the word "stuff" and can't see what's wrong with it:
Stuff was a perfectly good, handy, multipurpose word and easy to spell, too.
Harry Dresden does not do this. He explains himself fully, and if he brings up a word that people don't understand, he takes the time to explain it in simple language. His apprentice, on the other hand...
Not completely true. In Fool Moon he uses the phrase "Don't mess with a wizard when he's wizarding!"
Even Charles Dickens gets in on this a bit: In A Tale of Two Cities, the narrator informs us that Charles Darnay has been accused of revealing information to the French "wickedly, falsely, traitorously, and otherwise evil-adverbiously."
"Today was a very cold and bitter day, as cold and bitter as a cup of hot chocolate, if the cup of hot chocolate had vinegar added to it and were placed in a refrigerator for several hours...The stranger was a woman, at least as tall as a small chair and probably as old as someone who attended nursery school many years ago."
TV With Real People And Stuff (Live Action TV)
Obviously, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Interestingly, it's never referred to as "Buffy-speak" in the show, but in "I Only Have Eyes For You," Giles refers to it as "Xander-Speak".
Spoofed when we hear a quote from Giles' first diary entry as Watcher.
Her abuse of the English language is such that I understand only every other sentence.
Spoofed again when Riley has to explain that 'buffy' is not an example of this trope, but a girl's name.
Also lampshaded by Spike. See Quotes.
In one episode Buffy called E-Mail "E-Letters"
In Dollhouse (another Joss show), there's a lot of hyperactive Buffy Speak from Topher.
The teenagers of Caprica occasionally talk like this. Not terribly surprising, given that several members of the Buffy creative team were also involved in Caprica (particularly Jane Espenson, who was showrunner for the second half of the show's lone season and co-wrote the finale).
In the new Doctor Who's second-series episode "School Reunion," Anthony "Giles" Head makes a blatant shoutout when he calls K-9 (a robot dog with a laser canon) a "Shooty Dog-thing".
[When asked what he did to Apollo 11] A clever thing.
A big mining thing, love a big mining thing. Rio doesn't have a big mining thing.
Yes, it's Spacey Wacey!
It's a thing, it's like a plan but with more greatness.
It's a thing in progress, don't question the thing.
A space-shippy thing! Timey-spacy!
(To Idris): You're just a bitey mad lady! The TARDIS is uppy-downy stuff in a big blue box. (This from a script written by Neil Gaiman, yet)
The season one episode "The End of the World", after the Doctor "upgrades" Rose's mobile, she asks what he did to it, to which he replies "a little bit of jiggery pokery." Rose then quips " 'jiggery pokery'? Is that the technical term?"
Now back to the classic series!
The Fourth Doctor: Yes, pow, pow, pow's a technical expression, Professor, it means that all the microcircuitry will fuse into one great euh! of molten metal.
Ace McShane explains Dalek politics:
"It's simple, isn't it? Renegade Daleks are blobs; Imperial Daleks are bionic blobs with bits added. You can tell that Daleks are really into racial purity. So one lot of Daleks reckon the other lot of blobs are too different. They're mutants, not pure in their blobbiness.
However, the War Doctor puts a fork in it in The Day of the Doctor when he roundly criticizes the Eleventh Doctor for using "timey wimey" and asks if he uses such language because he doesn't want to grow up.
In Battlefield, the Doctor frightens off a group of knights who think he's Merlin by proclaiming "Go now, before I unleash a terrible something on you!"
In The Time Monster, the Doctor uses a time-sensor to detect disturbances in the time-field caused by the Master's TARDIS. Jo christens it a "TARDIS sniffer-outer".
Blackadder the Third used this once to good effect, since the Blackadders are known for their razor-sharp wits, and because even without a decent metaphor, he still says it with confidence. As he says to Prince George regarding the causes of a threatened peasant revolution, "Disease and deprivation stalk our land like... two giant stalking things."
Badger: "You think you're better than other people!" Mal: "Just the ones I'm better than."
Jayne: "If I wanted schoolin', I woulda gone to... school."
River periodically slides into it, but that's more because of her madness and her inability to express her thoughts clearly due to her schizophrenia and the massive emotional and sensory overload she's experiencing due to her brain damage and Psychic Powers.
Sawyer uses its "X-thingy" variant, especially with the nicknames, making it "X-chick/X-guy" :
"She talked to that guy... Bruce-Lee-from-the-freighter."
"That's broken-nose-man's girl."
The "Steal-The-Kid-Off-The-Raft project", the "I-m-an-Other-You-re-an-Other reunion", the "Blow-Up-Everything-That-Can-Get-Us-Off-The-Island tour", ...
In the pilot episode of Farscape astronaut John Crichton gets hold of his first raygun. After accidentally letting off a few shots he decides to try threats instead. This happens a fair bit when A) John doesn't know what to call alien devices/races/things or B) John is trying to describe Earthy things to aliens.
"Don't move, or I'll fill you full of... little yellow bolts of light!"
Red Dwarf, where the characters, knowing nothing about astro-navigation or the area of space they are traveling through, often use terms like "Swirly-thing alert!" Or, on occasion, a "wibbly thing".
Kryten: Is it a wibbly thing or a swirly thing sir?
Cat: At this early stage I'd hate to commit myself and wind up looking a fool!
The pilot is usually the Cat, who navigates space by 'smell' among other things...
Though, once, Arnold Rimmer described somebody as "a total, total ... A word has yet to be invented to describe how totally whatever-it-is you are, but you are one. And a total, total one at that."
In Merlin, the title character describes a sword as "very... swordy".
In Roundhouse (an early '90s Nickelodeon variety show), the character of Dad yells, "Flying out of windows like... things that fly out of windows!"
Often happens to Jack Carter from Eureka when he has a hard time describing what the town's scientists have come up with to destroy the city this week. A typical example:
Jack Carter: I believe you have a device! That can create a wormhole, or bend time, or make you invisible... A wormholing, time-bending, invisibling device... that shields you from the mind!
Nathan Stark: Yes, he said "invisibling".
Whose Line Is It Anyway? dips into this trope half of the time thanks to its improvisational format. One example of this in the Improbable Mission sketch for the laundry ("The Cat!" for people who don't remember the actual task), when no one but Greg knew what a burnoose actually was:
Ryan: Fabric softener?
Colin: Well you can't have static cling! The burnoose will stick to his... *gestures to body* thing!
Hustle: "Sometimes a bloke has to stand up for... what he stands for."
Becker, from the title character: "Quit hovering over me like... help me out, what hovers?"
Frasier: "It would be hard to sleep, thinking of you in the next room all hot and... hot."
Warehouse 13, "Well I'm guessing 'the gooery'" is Claudiaspeak for the neutralizer distribution machine." Hardly surprising when you consider that Buffy writer Jane Espenson co-created Warehouse 13.
Smallville: When Jimmy Olsen discovers Clark's secret: "You're some kind of super... guy!"
Frequently deployed by the staff of the White House on The West Wing. Especially bizarre when used by Toby, who is, after all, not only the President's chief speechwriter, but also a man with a keen enough of grasp of the language to name every punctuation mark in it off the top of his head. Prime example from Season 4's Election Night:
Toby: You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?
For the record, there are fourteen punctuation marks in the English language (according to The Other Wiki). Doesn't sound too bad? Well, did you make sure to include guillemets and solidus?
Bertie: When you have been a little longer in my employ you will come to understand that all my chums rely heavily on your employer's wisdom and knowledge of human nature in the conduct of their affairs. Not to mention my organisational powers, and just plain... thingness!
From the Legend of the Seeker episode "Sanctuary" comes the line, "That swindler's as blind as . . . something . . . that can't see well." It's entirely plausible that the midlands don't have bats. Also, it's possible that halfway through the sentence he remembered that bats actually have excellent eyesight.
Duff from Ace Of Cakes on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" describes the contents of his favorite pie:
"It's like a creamy, vinegary... thing. I dunno, he'll tell you about it."
''' It's my friends. They have a... liking problem. With you. In that they don't.
Her brother even more so (he described his love for his fiancée as "being with her is like... so much better than not being with her, y'know")
Coupling: In the last episode of the third series, Sally is convinced she's pregnant, so she, Jane, and Susan take tests (they're controls). She comes out of a stall screaming "It's so blue! And liney! It's a blue line of blue lineyness!" She's holding all three...
The normally unflappable Sherlock becomes so flustered when Moriarty straps a bomb to John, and John grabs him and tells Sherlock to run, thus proving himself willing to die for Sherlock that he can only splutter "That, uh... thing... that you, uh... that you did, that you... that you offered to do, that was, ah... good." It's adorable.
Also occurs in "A Scandal in Belgravia," when Mycroft offers Sherlock a cigarette:
Sherlock: Smoking indoors… isn't that… isn't that one of those… law things?
In "The Sign of Three" after getting drunk, his usual Sherlock Scan shows hazy, double Buffy labels.
Community: Britta is upset that Annie is bringing in more money than her to help with the Gulf crisis, so she dresses a little slutty and starts acting perky.
Britta: Hi, I need you to give me money to help save the pelicans, because they're, like, feathery and pelicany and stuff!
"Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" has Annie, who's moved in with Abed and Troy, accidentally destroying Abed's limited-edition DVD of The Dark Knight. When Annie tries to shift the blame by claiming the apartment was robbed of the now-missing disc, Abed speculates that the landlord did it; and Troy (who knows what really happened) responds, "Ooooh, let's not jump to thing-doing!"
"Contemporary Impressionists" had an example of the "Intelligent thought expressed unintelligently" variation:
Jeff: Someone tell Britta what an analogy is.
Britta: I know what it is, it's like a thought... with another thought's... hat on...
The Dean's threat to put Jeff's picture on a Greendale poster unless he convinces Troy to join the football team: "You know, I just realized, we should send these out to local businesses. Law firms, lawyer... companies, legal... gatherings..."
Then there is Chang
She was all dame. Legs that went all the way to the bottom of her torso.
Let her go, like a lobster claw letting go of a small balloon for lobsters.
A matchbook... Something about it seemed cluey.
Yes, those are all from the same episode, "Competitive Ecology"
Then there's the two-parter where Troy builds a blanket fort and Abed builds a pillow fort and they go to war over it. Troy calls his blanket fort "The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg".
NewsRadio used this trope so much that it might as well be called Jimmy Speak.
Mr. James: You're gonna be big, son. Bigger than, say, Dave, what's the name of that guy who's really big?
Dave: Andre the Giant?
Mr. James: No, No, the one who isn't dead yet.
Dave: Oh, Hulk Hogan.
Mr. James: Bingo!
"This is on air talker person Matthew Brock"
Mr. James: I'm going to need one of those thingies you put on your head and talk into it.
Beth: Oh yeah, Peter Frampton Vocoder?
Mr. James: No.
Beth: Darth Vader space helmet?
Mr. James: No.
Beth: Telephone headset?
Mr. James: That's the one.
"I don't know, but there's something bogus in there somewhere..."
Joe: No matter how far technology advances it's still just a bunch of wires connected to other wires.
Beth:So what's wrong with it?
Joe:I can't seem to find any wires...
From the Psych episode "If You're So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?'':
Goddard: Wait, wasn't Hahn involved in that thing? You remember that thing?
Shockley: The thing with the other thing?
Goddard: Nonono, just the first thing, from five years ago.
Occurs in an episode of Scrubs ("My Balancing Act"): Turk wears a nasal strip (presumably as a breathing aid to improve his bedroom performance and overcome Carla's inability to orgasm), prompting Carla to ask "Why are you wearing one of those nose breathing thingies?"
Marshall, Ted, and Lily often fall into this mode of speaking on How I Met Your Mother, particularly when Robin and Barney aren't around. Stands to reason, as Alyson Hannigan is a Buffy alumn and the show creators are huge Joss Whedon fans.
Radar: Sir, I was walking by and I noticed this gizmo came disconnected from the thingamabob and it wasn't dripping into the doohickey right.
BJ: You lost me with all the technical terms, Radar, but I get the picture.
Col. Blake: I mean the talk about the, uh, what I'm supposed to talk about.
Col. Blake: General Mitchell, it is both an honor and a privilege and a pleasure to welcome you into that which only through your kind support and generosity are we able to be standing in the middle of it.
From BBC series Me And My Monsters: "human-dad-thingy" and "mummy-human thingy".
Paige's power of Telekinetic Orbing required her to call objects by name. In the episode "Hyde School Reunion", she doesn't know what to call a demonic acid substance but successfully orbs it back to the demon by calling it "Icky stuff!". In another episode, "A Wrong Day's Journey into Right", she does the same thing using "Weapon... thingy!".
Bones had a rare example of a character known for Spock Speak reverting to Buffy Speak. In the ninth season episode "The Sense in the Sacrifice", Booth kissed Brennan breathless after she declared her absolute faith in him and his instincts. Her response combined Buffy Speak with I Need to Go Iron My Dog; "I have to go...do...scientific things to catch a serial killer."
Penelope Garcia, the resident tech expert on Criminal Minds, is prone to this, especially when she gets excitable.
Doc Martin: Martin tells PC Penhale that his brother is displaying some of the symptoms of Huntington's disease. Penhale has a panic attack and Martin shuts him up by agreeing to give him a blood test. Penhale says of his blood that "Oh no! It looks Huntington-y!".
J.D. Nelson (referring to a drum containing one million match heads): If this does go off [while we're here], then it is time to de-ass the area with the quickness.
Glossy Book Things (Magazines)
A parody of Antiques Roadshow in MAD had a few of the appraisers inspecting the "antiques" with a jeweler's loupe, or as they call it, a "thingamajig that jewelers use".
Pretty Sound Stuff (Music)
They Might Be Giants have a song called "They'll Need a Crane" consisting of this sort of thing. It tells the tale of a dysfunctional relationship in strange metaphor, while referring to the two people only as "Gal" and "Lad".
Deep Purple rented the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to record their album Machine Head. Their misadventures are recalled in the classic "Smoke on the Water," and the studio is dubbed "the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside."
Picture Things In The Paper (Newspaper Comics)
Gary Larson's The Far Side: Some mobsters are interrogating a little man tied up in a chair. "Well," says their leader, "we've tried every device and you still won't talk - every device, that is, except for the one we simply call 'Mr. Thingy.' " The hoodlum then holds up a weird contraption that looks like a cross between a bomb and a Swiss army knife.
ThisCandorville strip: "I'm as bad with analogies as... something else is bad at a thing."
People Who Fight And Stuff For Money And It's Fake (Professional Wrestling)
Martin: The thing is, we've taken away all the things that can't possibly have happened, so I suppose the only thing that's left, even though it seems really weird, must be the thing that did happen in fact!
Bluebottle: I used his large-type front and posh-type talking to work my way to a position of importance in the BBC! Seagoon: Silly lad! There are no positions of importance in the BBC!
That Thing Where People Pretend They're Other People In Front Of More People (Stage)
In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Antonio faces off against Claudio and Don Pedro, and he is too angry (or, in some productions, too drunk) to properly articulate his rage. The result is quite entertaining.
Armed And Dangerous, an obscure but fun shooter for the X-Box and PC, had this... like... a lot. Perhaps the worst offender is the Emperor's retarded son, and I mean actually retarded, who has trouble stringing syllables together. Don't get him started on whole sentences.
The Scout in Team Fortress 2, being the youngest and most hyperactive of the nine classes, has this in a bunch of his domination lines. For example, to the Heavy Weapons Guy: "I am owning you, you fat bald fatty fat... fat-fat!" or to the Sniper: "You'll never hit me! You'll never hit my tiny head! It's so tiny, I've got a frickin'... such a tiny little head!".
Travis from Silent Hill Origins, getting more and more peeved about being dragged around Silent Hill by Alessa, holds up a piece of the Flauros he found and yells out: "I got your... your thing for you!"
When Monkey Island got voices, Dominic Armato added this trait to protagonist Guybrush Threepwood.
In the sequel, Hawke sometimes falls into Buffy Speak if s/he tries to lie. Telling Ser Roderick that Hawke saw Conrad sacrifice a goat leads to Hawke stammering "He was talking about how he wanted to do all kinds of... demony things!"
Also when Hawke first learns of Anders ability to Hulk Out into Justice;
In Crash Tag Team Racing, a Park Drone in the Tyrannosaurus Wrecks area, frustrated with Crash for not getting him enough money to leave the park, will exclaim "Again, you come back to haunt me?! Like some kind of haunting thing?! Haunting... and coming back?!"
Mass Effect: Even Commander Shepard is not immune to this... after three hits of the strongest drink on the Citadel, followed by under the counter batarian ale, the bartender offers a krogan drink known as Ryncol.
Grunt, being essentially a krogan teenager, often speaks like this, while trying to either puzzle through his tank-imprints or simply talking outside of combat. On Korlus, the squad will also encounter another tank-bred krogan who is even less experienced and articulate than Grunt, who speaks this way. Though he's also intelligent enough that he switches between this and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness quite often.
Grunt: We should get behind... stuff.
Jack, at one point, defines the Collectors as "fucked up...bug thing[s]". She's not wrong, exactly...
In Super Paper Mario, the villain Mimi constantly uses childish phrases, referring to the heroes as "meanies".
In the 2010 Medal of Honor, Tier 1 operators look and sound a lot less professional than the soldiers in the normal army, though obviously they're much more deadly. In Running With Wolves you're told to "stay stealthy."
Golden Sun: The Lost Age: At one point, Kraden amusingly refers to a ship-powering crystal as "the thingie... that makes it go." Proving that the Lemurians' Magitek is exotic to him despite his lifelong studies of such.
"You huffy, puffy, loosey-goosey excuse for a whimpering whining wuss of a witness."
"Don't be foolish you foolish fool wearing the foolishly foolish clothes."
One item-of-the-month in Kingdom of Loathing allows you to temporarily turn into a vampire, at which point one option during exploration lets you meet an obvious Buffy parody, who calls you "Broody Von Stoicpants", and states that she's "a sucker for a brooder. Broodie? One who broods."
Tales of Graces has one character who is exceptionally prone to this in Pascal. Every other technologically savvy character is prone to just keeping the language simple enough that Asbel and crew can keep up. Pascal, on the other hand, gets an example of this every hour or two.
I Miss the Sunrise has a single instance: Marie refers to the FOCS construct as a "big spinny ring thing" at one point when talking to someone who didn't know its actual name.
Arthur: I just go "Zoom!" and it goes "Whoosh!" and then "Bam!" and the enemies are like "Noooooo!" and I'm all "Hahaha!"
Surprisingly, the normally fustian Asura of Guild Wars 2 has one of these for the female characters. When attacking an enemy, occasionally she'll blurt out: "You're dumb. You'll die and leave a dumb corpse."
Cartoons On The Internet And Stuff (Web Animation)
Xemnas: Gentlemen, thanks for coming. I'm here to talk about IT. Xigbar: What? Xemnas: Yes... it has done IT. And now she well do THE THING, and now what I told you about will happen to him, and then will happen to HER, when IT is done. Then WE need to do... THE THING. Xigbar: The who the what and the when? Xemnas:' Saix, is IT done? THE THING? Saix: Yes, sir. Xemnas: And Xigbar, is IT ready to do IT? Xigbar: What? Xemnas: IS "IT" READY TO DO "IT"? Xigbar: "sigh" Yeah, yeah, HE is doing IT and IT is HER doing something... whatever you say. Xemnas: What?!?! She did THE SOMETHING?!? We must take action at once!!!!
The Demented Cartoon Movie has "Evil Blah's Evil Lair Type House Thing!", inside of which are the "Evil device thingy!" the generic damsel is chained to and the "Weird evil Machine thing o` doom".
"What was that? Some kind of... kamikaze, type, person?"
The title character of I Am Baby Cakes has a surprising way of expressing the great paradoxes of life and love in simple, childish terms.
Picture Things That Tell A Story On The Internet (Web comics)
Jules: Come along then. You can be my apprentice... or squire... or... whatever.
Van: What does a squire do, Jules?
Jules: I don't know; he squires. We'll look it up in the dictionary later.
Red from Gunnerkrigg Court lapses into this when describing such esoteric concepts like rooms and chairs. "Sitty-downy things," indeed. This is implied to be a function of serious gaps inherent in the education process prior to becoming human, because while chairs are a foreign concept she jabbers off about some seriously advanced nonsense.
Parodied in the "Muffin the Vampire Baker" story of Sluggy Freelance. "I'm going to do my best to distortify the English languagism thingies." When Muffin hears that vampires can be killed by staking instead of baking, she declares she's now "Muffy the girl who sticks wooden thingies into vampires".
In You Damn Kid, the narrator's parents get into an argument because Dad is looking for "the thing for cutting the things" and is angry that Mother doesn't know what he's talking about. "Imagine your parents not speaking for two weeks because Dad can't remember the words for 'toenail clipper'."
Happens frequently in Homestuck, since most of the characters are thirteen years old. Especially notable with John, whose Heir of Breath powers are consistently referred to as "the windy thing". Lampshaded:
EB: I'm going upstairs to the big platformy thing.
TT: The alchemiter?
TT: Try to learn the lingo.
It's a Running Gag that nobody knows what to call the "flappy doodad" that exists on a mailbox and has some trouble coming up with a description that someone else can understand. (The technical term seems to be 'signal flag', by the way, but somehow that's not very satisfying)
Brunel: Where would science be without the Engine? Archaic! Puny! Boring! It doesn't bear thinking about! I'd be able to build gigantic iron ships, certainly - but could they fly? Lovelace: It would indeed be difficult... Brunel: Would Darwin be able to mess around with his, uh... barnacles he won't talk about? Lovelace: Um, that one I'm not sure about... Brunel: Would Faraday be able to that whatsis with the thingamajig?? Lovelace: No! No he would not! Brunel: Now get out there and do whatever the hell it is that you do!!
Cracked's video "If Nature Documentaries Didn't Let Science Get in the Way":
This treestump is a perfect example of our universe. It's covered in bits and stuff, just like all the other bits and stuff covered in bits and stuff in our universe... What is this part that's not those things I just said?
Over the last few decades, food allergies and intolerance have been skyrocketing like a rocket that's going up into the sky really really fast.
Very often done by the Let's Playerraocow, who will often say "Well, that was a thing" or any of a million similar sentences. Some of it Justified by him being French Canadian and French in Quebec having many different ways to say "thing" (see the Real Life section of this page) that just don't translate well into English. The rest is him just playing up his Talkative Loon nature.
Another Let's Play, for Baldur's Gate 2, had Minsc proclaim that the Mace of Disruption was "very disrupty". Minsc isn't too good at the thing with the wordy things at the best of times (unless they involve hilariously over-the-top descriptions of what he's going to do to the bad guys), so it fits.
In the web cartoon Irving, the Socially Awkward Bee, the bees that Irving attempts to hang around with want to leave his presence by saying they have to do "the thing with the thing".
Most of the main cast of Red vs. Blue falls into this at one point or another, but Caboose seems particularly prone due to his status as The Ditz.
Tucker:"My sword? Fuck yeah, I know how to use that! What's to understand about "swish, swish, stab"!?"
Ray William Johnson does this from time to time on =3, mainly because he tries to come up with a joke against your mom but fails.
Ray: ... in a... mom... throwing-contest. Shut up!
The Deus Ex: Human Revolution-inspired Unreal Revolutionmodification for the first Deus Ex (re-read the sentence if you need, we swear it makes sense) makes large use of this trope. "Use this to turn off the sparky hurt light", indeed.
177. I am not to refer to a formation as "the boxy rectangle thingie".
Most of the Whateley Universe stories are centered around teens at the Superhero School Whateley Academy, so it's inevitable. Solange has a tendency to slip into this whenever she's upset. Aquerna sometimes does when she's busy being a Motor Mouth.
In the Opinionated Reviews of one SF Debris, Chuck will often point out when something is on the list of things that are as bad as a very bad thing. God help you if you pull something from the list of things that are worse than a very bad thing.
...this was trying to mimic a cartoon world that was already a cartoon world but make it more cartoony because it's in reality, and...I don't...this movie has made me not make word senses that I can complete formally in this period.
Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara proclaims, after something very stupid in Battle for Bludhaven, proclaims that he broke something in his "thinking thing".
Mitch and Mary Morpotzner from Database Rangers Power Reviews tend to speak this way at times. While watching a choreographed fight scene during the review episode of "The Wild Wipeout" from Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Mitch describes the Rangers doing "punchy flippy kicky things."
From the spinoff Not Always Friendly, this story has a missionary in El Salvador trying and failing to convince a local plumber that she is from the area. He's finally convinced when she loses a ring in the drainpipe and resorts to the Salvadorian word for "thingamajig" to explain it to him.
"Breaking Bad is up there with Lost on the list of shows encouraging fan theory about what will happen next, the major difference being that on Breaking Bad, unlike Lost, there is actually a return on your thinking investment since stuff...actually...MEANS...things."
Third Rate Gamer says that in the old commercials, Cool Spot "would walk around and stuff."
In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" Principal Skinner is searching for Bart, who cut school on the same day of an accident in the Quimby mansion. Bart escapes across a rope bridge and cuts it, thinking that Skinner won't walk into the raging river that separates the two. In Terminator-like fashion, Skinner walks under the water, barely changing his facial expression, at which point Bart quips, "He's like some sort of... Non-Giving-Up School Guy!" According to the writers, this was written after a long session in which they couldn't come up with anything clever for Bart to call Skinner.
Homer: Marge, where's that... metal dealy... you use to... dig... food...?
Marge: You mean a spoon?
Homer: Yeah, yeah!
Homer: Oh Lisa, you and your stories! Bart is a vampire! Beer kills brain cells! Now let's go back to that... building... thingy...w here our beds and TV... is."
Also also also:
Nelson: Way to breathe, no-breath.
Lionel Hutz: I move for a bad court-thingy.
Judge Snyder: You mean a mistrial?
Hutz: Yeah! That's why you're the judge, and I'm the... law-talking-guy.
Homer, upon meeting the editor of Reader's Digest:
"I especially love the Build Your Vocabulary section! That thing is really, really, really... good."
Homer enters a superstore:
"So many things, and so many things of each thing!"
Bender: I'm done recomfoobulating the energy-motron... or whatever.
Hattie's entire schtick is based around this, often referring to everything as a "kajigger."
Invader Zim. As in, every single character. This includes Zim ("I might as well make your entire brain... nn-not smart no more."), The Almighty Tallest ("Our big... space ship... gang!"), and Dib ("Score nothing for the Zim... thingy... race."), to name a few.
In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends The boarding house is visited by what Frankie believes to be just a normal human boy wearing a clown nose. He constantly refers to the house as "Foster's home for Makeemupthings" and upon his first visit says "So take me in, give me food and take care of me and stuff.".
Sokka: Well look at you, Buster. Now that your firebending is gone, I guess we should call you The Loser Lord! Ozai: I am the Phoenix King! Uh... (falls over) Toph: Oh sorry. Didn't mean to offend you, Phoenix King-of-getting-his-butt-whooped! Suki: Yeah! Or how bout King of the... guys who... don't win? Toph: Leave the nicknames to us, honey.
Actually used quite a bit by Sokka. For one, his first name for Combustion Man, Sparky Sparky Boom Man. Another (albeit drug fueled): "Cactus juice, it's the quenchiest!"
Both of The Angry Beavers used the word "thingy" repeatedly. Really, the series was full of this trope. One episode is actually titled "Big Round Sticky Fish Thingy".
Daggett: Desperate times call for desperate desperate-ness...!
Storm Hawks, while Junko is portrayed as quite smart for his species, he's not quite a genius. "The Beacon! It's stopped... beaconing!"
Junko mentions that as a child, he was picked on for being more intellectual than your average Wallop; he's the only Wallop that plays a major role in the series, though, so we really have no baseline for where your average Wallop falls on the scale of thinking versus hitting things.
Monique Speak in Kim Possible, as well as slang outside of the show's trope namer.
Ron Stoppable frequently is guilty of this.
"Oh, that's right, Sensei can do that weird floaty thing!"
Kim: "We have to time this so that hovery guardy thing doesn't see us."
Earthworm Jim had some of this. For example, in one episode Jim takes a Doppelganger -creating gun and Evil Jim says "Give that back you... Thing-taker guy!"
One of the other evil characters at one point threatens, "I will crush you like an easily-crushed thing!"
"Now I'll freeze you as solid as... uh... a solid freezy frozen thing." "Oook oook eeek!" "Oh right. Thank you! A block of ice!"
Starfire from Teen Titans sometimes does this. She has a better excuse than most, as she's an alien and English is not her native language. Even without the language issues, though, she's still definitely the Team Ditz.
Batman Beyond spoofs this trope a lot earlier. In the episode "Shriek", after his original and perfectly understandable request gets turned down for being the wrong term, teenager Terry has to resort to this to get a spectrographic analysis of a piece of Shriek's armor from the Bat-computer. See here
An episode of Dexter's Laboratory involved Dexter giving a dog he found the ability to speak, which resulted in the dog repeatedly referring to one of Dexter's machines as "the thing."
Toad Patrol actually incorporated this as a regular form of speech for the toadlet characters known as "toad speak." Since they didn't know all the words for things, concepts such as nighttime were expressed in manners such as "the deep deep blue has turned to black." Rain was "falling wet."
Bush: Who dares question my... daring... of his... dare... jerk!
In the Family Guy parody of Star Wars called "Blue Harvest", Grand Moff Tarkin (Adam West) threatens to use the Death Star's "planet-blower-upper-gun" on Alderaan. After Leia's (Lois) Big "NO!", he hesitates.
In The Fairly OddParents Timmy proudly described himself as "fast . . . as a really strong animal, and as strong . . . as a really strong animal!"
And he also doesn't like his cops being flung around on a big spatula thingy.
The theme song: Wands and wings! Floaty, crowny things!
Used in Rugrats, when the baby Chucky keeps a lucky... object in his pocket that all the babies are familiar with, but none have a word for. (It's a bottlecap.) It is simple referred to as "Chucky's lucky... thing", complete with the pause while the babies search for the word.
In Archer, "It's an art that can't be taught, like a poet's... mind for the... to make... the perfect word."
Done out of guilt in the episode "Nighty Night Ninja". The penguins had been staying up late and watching this ninja program, and hours later all of them are up on the top of their hideout, dead tired and discussing their predicament. Kowalski is asleep on his feet. All of a sudden, in the middle of the discussion, he wakes up shouting a Waking Non Sequitur that sounds sort of like, "I want my binky!!" He notices the other three staring at him and he sheepishly says, "Sp... I-I mean... something... sciencey..." (Nervous laugh)
In "Red Man's Greed" Randy says that there is more to life than money like "slurpees and stuff."
In "The Return of Chef", Stan tells the psychiatrist that Chef was brainwashed with a little thing that goes whrrrrrr.
In Gravity Falls, when Mabel explains the hole in Wax Stan's shoe.
"All the wax guys have that. It's where the pole thingy attaches to their stand dealies."
In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Babs disguises herself as a fireworks salesman to rescue Buster from some love-sick alligator sisters. She describes her wares as including "them Roman candles, yucky curly snake-y things, and that little spinny whirlibob that never works."
Winnie-the-Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, resorts to this at times. On accidentally wiping out part of a massive equation that was written on a chalkboard: "It did make Grandpappy Gopher's equation a bit more... less."
Happens quite a bit in Littlest Pet Shop (2012). Occasionally done by the pets, though mostly by the Biskit Twins, who seem to do this with even the simplest of words, e.g. they call a nurse a "medicine-lady" and an idea a "brain-thingy".
Other Things And Stuff And... Things
In the Tabletop RPGCosmopol, the character Keller speaks like this to the point that others call his distinct speech pattern "Keller Speak". Justified in that he is not a native English speaker.
No, sometimes he speaks like that in his native German, too.
There's a snowclone joke out there that goes, "There's only two kinds of people in this world: Those who are good with words, and those who are... umm... uh... Thingy."
It also has a monster that almost always causes this reaction.
A common expression on the Internet: "I can't brain today. I have the dumb."
That Real Existing Place That Is Non-Fictional And Exists (Real Life)
It's common for little kids to speak like this.
In a way, kennings are a form of this. One of the more famous ones, Beowulf, translated as "bee-hunter", is an Old English kenning for bear.
These euphemisms were formed because it was considered bad luck to speak the bear's true name. Most European cultures have various different names for the same animal— "honey-eater" (medved), "brown thing" (bruin). The ones nowadays accepted as its real name ("bear", for instance) are actually euphemisms used so widely that the original name was forgotten. Bears are Serious Business.
John F. Kennedy, an otherwise brilliant speaker, once did this: "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade, and do the other things." This was a common mid-20th century expression indicating, "There are many examples, but I don't feel like naming them all right now." Many middle-aged Americans were still using the idiom as the 1990s drew to a close. It all makes sense in context:
But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!
"The other things" in context was "beat the Ruskies".
An more straightforward interpretation is that "the other things" are "that stuff I already mentioned but don't feel like repeating, to wit, climbing the highest mountain, flying the Atlantic, etc."
The French spoken in Quebec has a wide, wide range of words that mean "thing" (chose, patente, truc, cossin, bidule, and the list goes on), although sometimes with a slightly different connotation. They are frequently used in non-formal conversation, with context and non-verbal communication helping interpretation of the word.
Combining them is perfectly valid too: "Passe-moi le truc-machin-chouette-bidule," would easily translate as "Pass me the thing-thingy-stuff-thing."
This also works for metropolitan French, except the order of the words is different. A non-exhaustive list of words for "thing" would go: truc, machin, bidule, trucmuche, chose, machin-chouette...
Also in Swedish, with a small selection being: Sak; apparat; apparatur; grej; mojäng; mackapär; grunka.
German and Japanese are languages that both make heavy use of compound words by just sticking two words together. The words "Zeug" and "mono" both mean "things" and are used in combination with all kinds of word. (The German "Zeug" originally meant "gear" as in "equipment", but has come to be a generic term for "stuff" when used alone).
Japanese: "Tabemono" (eat-stuff/food), "kaimono" (buy-stuff/things you bought), "Kimono" (dress stuff/clothing). The same applies to words with "butsu", such as "doubutsu" or "hakubutsu".
Esperanto: The suffix -aĵ- means essentially "the physical substance associated with". "Bovo" (cow) + "-aĵ-" = "bovaĵo" (beef). "Segi" (to saw) + "-aĵ-" = "segaĵo" (sawdust). "Aĵo" by itself just means "stuff".
Turkish: The suffixes -cı,-ci,-cu,-cü,-çı,-çi,-çu and -çü mean "- person". It's mainly used to define professions: "dişçi" (tooth-person/dentist), "demirci" (iron-person/smith), "yolcu" = (way-person/traveler).
Kneadatite, a self-hardening paste that is used extensively used in miniature sculpting, is almost universally known as "green stuff".
People with anomic/dysnomic forms of the mental disorder aphasia often have difficulty retrieving words from memory and come up with awkward circumlocutions to describe something that they cannot name. A person with this condition might know what an apple is and how it tastes, but might be unable to name it, instead calling it something like "that crunchy fruit that grows on trees".
English speakers who want to describe something they don't have a word for sometimes employ the French "je ne sais quoi", usually to mean something like "unique character", as in, "He has a certain je ne sais quoi." It literally means, "I don't know what" which has the same meaning in English.
The Polish word "wichajster" means a thing that either has no name or a thing whose name the speaker doesn't recall (it usually refers to a machine or part thereof, or some sort of gadget, but anything can be described by the word). And "wichajster" is pronounced exactly like "Wie heist er", which means "what is it called" in German.
German knows "das gewisse Etwas", which means "the certain something", which is just as vague and is used in the same way.
The 19th century brought English such expressions as "doohickey" and "thingamabob."
When Sarah Palin asked, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?" at the first-ever national Tea Party Convention, some of us wondered if Joss Whedon had suddenly, inexplicably been employed as her speech writer. For those who haven't paid attention to American politics lately, or have just had their heads under a rock, this was an allusion to Barack Obama's campaign slogans of "hope and change." Which she was making fun of.
While on the subject of Republicans, some of old No.43's bushisms would qualify. "Tribal sovereignty means just that; it's sovereign. You're a - you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity."
As stated above, Joss Whedon himself — in interviews, one can practically see the Buffy script flowing forth as he speaks. Also, Jim Butcher has fallen into this a couple of times, perhaps.
Some very studious teens, especially those cramming for standardized tests, will have an immense vocabulary but no clue how to use those words properly, thus leading to a strange mix of Buffy Speak and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
If you ever work in technical support, expect to see this a lot. Many peoples are completely unable to properly describe a technical problem.
If you work in a home and garden or domestic supply store, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, you will encounter this trope on a daily basis. No exceptions.
"Do you carry that rectangular inflatable dealie that you put ice in?"
L33t is a form of this trope although some circles consider it an actual language.
Dialect or jargon perhaps, but not a language. And only applicable through writing.
L33t would be an alternate writing system of the Latin alphabet since it's just written, with some jargon thrown in for good measure.
This trope is sadly common when speaking foreign languages you're relatively new to. Whatever education the speaker had was probably only focused on general, common vocabulary (exceptions being "medical Spanish" courses, etc.) so the speaker is limited to a very unspecialized vocabulary and has to get creative when trying to explain to a confused ER patient that the doctors are going to put in an IV to keep them from dehydrating.
Modern linguists incidentally consider it an important skill to know how to speak around a word that you don't know, and there are several scientific studies on the subject.
Speaking of speaking around a word you don't know, the word for this (in English) is "circumlocution". Useful stuff.note "Circumlocution" comes from a Latin word that literally means "speaking around", and is also used in cases where the speaker knows perfectly well what word is being avoided, such as saying "gathering intelligence" when you mean "spying."
The same in Colombia with the word 'vaina', except it's never used on people, hence being translated as a very localized version of "thing", and being one of the few words used by everyone regardless of region/accent.
In the immortal words of the Danish Prime minister Lars Løkke "Those who earn more, and pay a lot, and now pay a little less. Well they pay more-less, than those who earn a little less, and pay less, thus paying less-less"
In Norwegian, the standard formal term for motor vehicles is fartøy, essentially "driving things".
Primates learning human sign language typically string together monosyllabic English words in order to express relatively complex concepts. Koko the gorilla, for one, famously referred to a mask (in ASL) as an "eye hat."
Much of the Chinese language is constructed this way. Since everything is in abstract characters, it's only considered natural to keep tacking simple words onto a chain until you've got a fully developed concept. Examples: The Chinese word for "love" is ai. Aiguo means "patriotic" ("love country"). Airen gives us "husband" or "wife" ("love person"); and aizibing translates to "AIDS" ("love disease"), though the last one can also be viewed as transcription.
Japanese is also big on Buffy Speak from a grammatical standpoint. All demonstratives, and also mono and koto often only serve to exacerbate confusion in a world that is elusive as it is. Exhibit A (at 13.). This is compounded by throngs of Chinese loanwords (see above) that a speaker has to live with.
A Con Lang called Toki Pona has this as its basic premise. It has only hundred-something roots, and words are formed from them exactly this way.
And its Evil Twin, Russian mat that has only six or seven roots that are all Cluster F Bombs. * In mat, you can compose complex, perfectly legitimate and meaningful (in context) sentences completely out of swear words, sometimes even working with one word base per sentence. This phenomenon is depicted in Russian humour; for example, in jokes about construction workers or engineers forced by the new superior (or a foreign consultant) to stick to decent language. This results in their inability to communicate and complete their tasks.
A toaster manufactured by Breville has an "A Bit More" button.
Literal translations from polysynthetic languages, many of them Native American, can sound like this. E.g. the Navajo for tank (when they don't just say "tank" in the middle of a Navajo sentence), chidí naaʼnaʼí beeʼeldǫǫhtsoh bikááʼ dah naaznilígíí is "cart that crawls around with a big-boom-maker sitting on top".note Even more literally, "cart, it crawls on the ground, and it-makes-a-big-boom is on its top"—Navajo forms agentive nouns ("-er") by what's called "terpsimbrotos".Note that in speech that whole beast is rattled off as one huge word.
In Nahuatl, it's especially noticeable when comparing modern colloquial Nahuatl to Classical Nahuatl, because Classical had a style rule that limited compounds to two elements plus endings, while modern Nahuatl will just stack on strings of elements. Modern Nahuatl would probably sound very rambling to the pre-Columbian Aztecs, who probably instituted the "two element" limit precisely to avoid that (as in most cultures, rhetoric was an important part of their conception of statecraft, and rambling tends to make for bad speeches).