And, if you will, do permit me to use any and all phrases and words in the English language to convey exactly what I mean. At the beginning of a sentence, the phrase in question is more of a pause in order for the speaker to make sure that the words that follow will be understood and well thought out. It’s much better than “uh, like uh, ya know uh, I mean uh, like, etc. In the middle of a sentence it serves the same purpose but also gives those who are listening a chance to catch up and ponder that which was spoken prior to the pause. It also has a psychological manifestation which mentally calls for “acceptance and/or permission” for what one is going to write or say.