The audible hyphen of one’s forgotten name

The interesting curtailment of speech to be heard, an audible hyphen, when someone forgets your name mid speech.

Thank you, —

One hears the comma, indicating something is to follow, perhaps a name, then one hears the hyphen, though not anything after it, indicating a sudden change of plan for the speaker.


This happened twice yesterday. In the first instance, the agent was someone who knew my name very well but was occasionally prone to lapses of recall (“Thank you, –” she had said.) In the second instance, it was someone I’d known for a decade at least, but would rarely see more frequently than once or twice a month. “Thank you, –” she had said, — and it was then that it struck me how very different from “thank you.” “thank you, –” would sound.

(Maybe catalexis would be appropriate to compare here.)

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