I was at a dinner with a group of well-educated younger people a few weeks ago (most of them were from their late 20’s to early 40’s), and the conversation went something like this:
“So, I went to see the show, cause I was, like, really interested in their music, but when I got there it was, like, bedlam. There were, like, people standing in the aisles, and, like, nobody seemed to know what was going on, it was, like, a disaster, and I thought, like, what am I doing here?”
In other words, it was, like, a total butchering of the language.
I’m not quite sure when “like” was elevated from Valley Girl patois to an acceptable insertion into almost every spoken sentence, but I think it needs to stop. It adds words and weight to a language that requires no modification, and worst of all it makes the speaker sounds a bit dim witted. The other problem is that the word is a bit contagious. By the end of the evening I found myself, like, starting to use like a lot. Like, really a lot.
Unfortunately I already have my own problems with the English language. When stressed or excited I tend to get a bit of a potty mouth, with a particular affection for the F bomb. In my own defense, f*ck and its derivatives are really wonderfully versatile words. Noun, verb, adjective, adverb, the uses are almost endless; that was f*cking beautiful, I don’t give a f*ck, who the f*ck cares, he’s f*cking crazy, what has two thumbs and likes to f*ck, this is one big cluster f*ck…… I could go on and on.
Yes, it just f*cking rolls off my tongue. But I know it also makes me sound like a cast member of Jerseylicious, which is probably not a good thing for a guy that primarily makes his living communicating. I can still hear echos of the nuns at Holy Rosary School – “swearing just shows your ignorance and lack of vocabulary”. The nuns were wrong about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. I appreciate someone who uses language elegantly. So I’m going to be more careful. Perhaps I can find a f*ck alert to remind me to speak like a gentleman.
Wouldn’t that, like, be f*cking wonderful?