What to Do When Someone Says You Use &x27Like&x27 Too Much | Time

Video What it is like

In 2016, I was offered a promo code to try out a new app designed to help young people speak without filler phrases the way you know and like them, to sound more “authoritative.” I tried not to take the offer personally. for decades, it has been the subject of profound linguistic ridicule; Along with the vocal fritters and conversations, it’s probably the most recognizable aspect of “valley girl talk.” When they make fun of teenage girls, impersonators use these types of phrases: “I, like, did I go to the movies? and I was like, ‘do I want to see superwoman?’ but brad was like, ‘no way?’ so we left.” (not sure why people love lampooning teenage girls so much, but my theory is that it’s just an excuse to talk in this entertaining way).

Fortunately, there are plenty of language experts out there who have taken the language “valley girl” seriously enough to find out what it really is. One such scholar is Carmen Fought, a linguist at Pitzer University, who says, “If women do something like speak frankly or speak coldly, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional, or even stupid.” but the truth is much more interesting: young women use the linguistic traits they make, not as meaningless affectations, but as tools of power to establish and strengthen relationships. vocal fry, uptalk and even like, in fact, are not signs of stupidity, but all have a unique history and special social utility. And women aren’t the only people who use them.

despite the word’s detractors, like is extremely useful and versatile. alexandra d’arcy, a canadian linguist at the university of victoria, has devoted much of her research to identifying and understanding the many functions of peers. d’arcy enthusiastically describes her work for the university’s youtube channel: “like is a little word that we really don’t like at all, and we want to blame the young girls, who we think are destroying the language”, she explains. . but the truth is that like has been part of English for more than 200 years. “We can find speakers today in their 70s, 80s and 90s in small towns in the UK, for example,” says Ella d’arcy with a smile, “who use like in many of the same ways that young women in today. .”

according to d’arcy, there are six completely different forms of the word like. the two oldest types in English are the adjective like and the verb like. In the sentence, “I like your suit, it makes you look like James Bond,” the first like is a verb and the second like is an adjective, and even the most moody English-speakers are fine with both. Today, these two likes sound exactly the same, so most people don’t even realize that they are different words with separate histories. are homonyms, just as the noun see (meaning the watch on your wrist) and the verb see (meaning what you do with your eyes when you turn on the television) are homonyms. The Oxford English Dictionary says that the verb like comes from the Old English term lician, and the adjective comes from the Old English līch. the two converged at some point during the last 800 years, which gave us plenty of time to get used to them.

but four new likes developed much more recently than that, and d’arcy says these are all separate words with distinct usages as well. Only two of these tastes are most commonly used by women, and only one of them is believed to have been devised by young Southern California women in the 1990s. That would be the type of citation, which you hear in, “I was like , ‘I want to see a superwoman'”. As satirized as it is, pragmatically speaking, this one I like is one of my favorites because it allows you to tell a story, to convey something that happened, without having to quote the interaction word for word. for example, in the sentence “my boss said, ‘I need those papers by Monday,’ and I said, ‘are you kidding me?'”, you are not repeating what you actually said, but rather using as to convey what you wanted say or how you felt in the interaction. thank you valley girls this very useful type of quote continues to explode into common usage.

The other like that women tend to use more often is classified as a marker of speech and can be found in contexts such as “this suit isn’t even new”. a speech marker, sometimes called a filler word, is a type of phrase that can help a person connect, organize, or express a certain attitude with their speech. other speech markers include the hedges alone, you know and actually.

There are two last forms of like: one is an adverb, used to approximate something, as in the sentence, “I bought this suit about five years ago.” beginning in the 1970s, this like largely replaced the approximate adverb or in casual conversation, and has always been used equally between men and women (which is why it’s not as hated). And finally, there’s the speech particle like, which we hear in, “I think this suit is like my favorite possession.” this like is similar to the speech marker, except that it is not used in the same way syntactically or semantically; plus, men use it just as much as women (d’arcy’s not quite sure why), though they’re rarely ridiculed for it.

Objectively, we can see that using one, two, or all of these different likes in the same sentence is not inherently bad. In fact, some studies have shown that a speech devoid of likes and you know can sound too careful, robotic or unfriendly. so the next time someone accuses you of saying too much, feel free to ask, “really? what kind?” because d’arcy says that ordinary speakers tend to accept the valley girl stereotype so hard, blaming young women for all these tastes, simply because they don’t notice the differences between them.

from the book wordslut. copyright © 2019 by amanda montell. Published May 28, 2019 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. reprinted with permission.

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