While reading this (interesting) article about how to improve english and reduce accent, I met a concept I've never heard about before: Xerox words.

So I visited toastmasters.org and found a club close to me. [...] The club I go to uses a dog training clicker to call people’s attention to their use of filler words like “mm,” “ah,” or “Xerox” words like “I, I ...”, “We, we ...”

But I couldn't find any example online: what is it exactly ?

  • PS: not really familiar with english.se tagging: sorry if I did it wrong. – Anto Oct 8 '13 at 10:23
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    Xerox is a brand of photocopier and gets used instead of the word copy. So the stammering of I, I.. is a form of copying. – GreaseMonkey Oct 8 '13 at 10:40
  • Oh ok; didn't know that this brand could be used this way. Thanks, should be an answer imo ;) – Anto Oct 8 '13 at 10:44
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    Without the contextual like "I,I...", "We, we ..." I wouldn't have understood the term either. As far as I know, the phrase "Xerox word" is not in normal use. – Colin Fine Oct 8 '13 at 12:59

Where a brand name becomes known so well, it becomes used in place of the product. Kleenex is often used instead of tissue. In this case, Xerox is a brand of photocopier but Xerox gets used instead of the word copy. So the stammering of I, I.. is a form of 'speech' copying. The author was coining the stammering as making Xerox copies.

  • Then I don't understand the part of the sentence that follows and seems to provide examples: “Xerox” words like “I, I ...”, “We, we ...” – Anto Oct 8 '13 at 10:28
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    It just means "words that people repeat, like 'I, I ...', 'We, we ...'. – TrevorD Oct 8 '13 at 11:33
  • P.S. To the best of my knowledge, although Kleenex & Xerox may be misused as generic terms in this way in AmE, they are not (now)commonly used in this way in BrE (although Xerox was used generically in BrE some 30 years ago). – TrevorD Oct 8 '13 at 11:37
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    Kleenex is more predominantly used in place of tissues more so in the US. In the UK, it is very common to use Hoover in lieu of vacuum cleaner i.e. "I'll give the rug a quick Hoover." – GreaseMonkey Oct 8 '13 at 13:15

A “Xerox” word is a A genericised trademark.

Generic trademark A generic trademark, also known as a genericised trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name that has become the generic name for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, against the usual intentions of the trademark's holder. Using a genericised trademark to refer to the general form of what that trademark represents is a form of metonymy.

It is based on an antonomasia:

(n.) use of an epithet for a proper name (or vice versa; e.g. His Holiness for the name of a pope), 1580s, from Latin, from Gk. antonomasia, from antonomazein "to name instead, call by a new name," from anti "instead"

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    This doesn't answer the OP's question, which is Why are I,I... and We, we... called Xerox words. Did you simply see Xerox and launch off onto a tangent? – anongoodnurse Jun 26 '14 at 7:20

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