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I have, like, another English question

  • [Again, I'm on a roll here from my, so I hope nobody minds this post in the Lounge.]

    I do have a (semi-)serious question about current English spoken language. This is a question for, probably, the over 40s here :)

    Using "Like" in English, nowadays. I get literally exhausted listening to "millennials" where every sentence has , like, about every six words. [Have you seen Love Island...? ;-) ] I try not to use it myself, though probably fail, especially if I want to "get down with the kids" ;-)

    My question: in the past we perhaps used ok or alright/right (much later was the awful know what I mean all the time --- no, I do not know what you mean!) where like is used now. But did we really use those as often as my ears are assailed by like??

  • People typing without thinking? Just a stream of thoughts without, like, second thought about what they type, know what I mean, right?

  • @artwaw
    Well I meant speaking, not typing. My question (such as it is) is: did we really put it any word like like to the incredible extent it is used (by some) nowadays? If you look at like usage, it does not actually correspond to "thinking time", in the way err or umm does, it is a deliberate interjection in sentence construction with no noticeable pause after it.

  • @JonB No, we don't. I don't know where that habit came from (I have my suspicion though) and I definitely don't approve. But then again, English is my second language (even if I speak it daily for a number of years now).

  • @artwaw
    You'd have to live here with English-speaking millennials to realise just how much it is used in conversation... ;-)

  • Moderators

    Be thankful that it's just the word like. In Poland, the common way of talking is to insert swear words into sentences all the time.

  • @sierdzio
    Ha, ha! We have that too (and that too is exhausting to listen to) :D But specifically like is a real issue in current (young people's) speech.

    It is also used in place of the complicated word said:

    I'm, like, "Where are you going?", and he's, like, "To the shops", and I'm, like, "What, now?" and he's, like, ....

  • @JonB I have 8y old boy in the house, I suppose I'll learn all of that in the years to come.

  • I seriously, like, cannot odd with this...

  • Moderators

    I keep telling myself that it's just a phase, like clothing with broad shoulders, and try really hard not to point that out to people talking like that. But it is hard. It really hurts sometimes.

    My two other pet peeves are massively overusing literally when what people say is figurative and this weird accenting where the word is stretched and voice goes up at the end of each sentence. I struggle :P

    It used to be like that with I mean, but that one got better I think.

  • Moderators

    Yeah, it's probably "just fashion". I feel an itch now to mention how fashion is also a thing in programming languages. We're on a brink of a flame war with that :)

    Interesting observation: out of 5 people who took part in this thread so far, 3 are Poles. I keep hearing polish people pay too much attention to languages, well this supports this claim somewhat.

  • Moderators

    @sierdzio You could say we do like some amount of Polish when it comes to language :P

  • Moderators

    Haha, well said.

  • @JonB not only did we use OK/alright, we used "like" long ago. I was in high school in the 1970s, and I can remember at least one English teacher scolding us about this.

    Unfortunately, too many people think English isn't a prescriptive language, so eventually this will become "proper."

    Life was so much better before Ford built the Edsel...

  • Moderators

    @JonB said in I have, like, another English question:

    much later was the awful know what I mean all the time --- no, I do not know what you mean!

    I think you mean Na Mean:

    Older version at -- it has worse audio and video, but has more Na Mean goodness

    @mzimmers said in I have, like, another English question:

    so eventually this will become "proper."

    Yep, just as how "literally" now literally means "figuratively". (Although historically there might be a precedent: )

  • @JKSH true story: about 10 years ago, I went down to mid Alabama for a whiltetail hunt. This was deep in Dixie. My host wanted to let his neighbor we would be sighting in rifles, so over to his yard we went. My host introduced us, and Leroy smiled and nodded as he shook my hand.

    The host informed him of our plans, and Leroy said something. I later realized what he was saying was, "well, all right then." But it didn't sound like "well, all right then" -- it sounded something like "wahrythn" (fairly close to monosylabbic). We "talked" a bit further, and he said "wahrythn" a couple more times.

    As we were leaving, he said "nice meetin' ya," and I thought "hey! English!"

    Those who aren't familiar with the patois of the Deep South probably won't get this...

  • @mzimmers said in I have, like, another English question:

    I went down to mid Alabama for a whiltetail hunt.

    Sounds racist? What is it with you Yanks: it's always rifle-this and gun-that...

    "hey! English!"

    Ummmm Sign in Philly delicatessen: "Only American spoken here". American contestant over in England Big Brother: "Oh, that's neat, you speak the same language as we do".

  • Moderators

    @mzimmers said in I have, like, another English question:

    As we were leaving, he said "nice meetin' ya," and I thought "hey! English!"

    That's one of the things I love in English and German - the amount of different dialects is just amazing! In Poland, "thanks" to communism we all speak in the same way, with only a few minor dialects around.

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