Like is, like, a discourse particle

Mai Kuha mkuha at BSU.EDU
Mon Sep 9 12:56:27 UTC 2002

On 9/9/02 6:58 AM, James A. Landau wrote:

> <begin quote>
> (...)
> It turns out ``like'' in its slang form evolved over centuries, becoming a
> Beatnik buzzword and catching the attention of linguists in the mid-1980s
> (...)
> <end quote>

Like, no:

Ross, John Robert and William E. Cooper. 1979. "Like syntax." In William E.
Cooper and Edward C. T. Walker (eds.) Sentence Processing: Psycholinguistic
Studies Presented to Merrill Garrett. New York: Erlbaum Associates. 343-418.

How much longer will "like" as a discourse particle be an "adolescent hedge"
(from Siegel's abstract,, even to
*linguists*?? I hear it every day from ex-adolescents, sometimes even in
formal situations--for example, from a 40-something non-linguist English
department chair while he was interviewing me for a job. As Walt Wolfram
said in his talk here at Ball State earlier this year, after outlining
surprising sociolinguistic trends in a particular community: "Like, why does
this happen?"

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