just procrastinating

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Via Fark, this article about the use of "like". It is interesting the way that language evolves and there usually is a reason for it:
Linguists say "like" has a growing number of meanings. It can act as a "hedge," to tell the listener that what is being said is an approximation or an exaggeration. (Example: "She has, like, a gazillion shoes.") It can also be a "focuser," to declare that the next bit of information is important. ("He is, like, so hot.") One of its most ubiquitous uses is as a substitute for "said." ("So my mom was like, 'Do your homework.' And then I was like, 'I did it at school.' ")

Defenders of the practice argue that these usages are just a natural evolution of the English language. Indeed, even some linguists say the word can be downright useful. When dropped into the middle of a sentence, for example, it gives the speaker time to gather his thoughts so he doesn't say the first (sometimes insipid) thing that comes to mind. Studies also show that people who have learned not to use filler words are interrupted more often, and tend to use simpler sentences.
I try to avoid "like" as much as possible, but I am someone whose speech doesn't really flow and I pause often to gather my thoughts. I am not sure why, but sometimes I have trouble finding words and getting my thoughts together (maybe its the drinking). Anyway, I just thought this was an interesting take on it.

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