"Like" abuse redivivus

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat Apr 12 17:03:09 UTC 2008

Like, you knew about it earlier than 1984, J! See

"Quotative Like," AMERICAN SPEECH 57.2 (1982), p149.

This is I think the earliest scholarly mention. Do you have any pre-1982 cites?

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-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>

Date:         Sat, 12 Apr 2008 07:33:33
Subject:      [ADS-L] "Like" abuse redivivus

Actually, it's never been gone, but thirty years ago "like" abuse was a big deal among the "Death of English" crowd. Recent developments in global warming and so forth have rather shunted it from notice.

  On campus yesterday I heard a young university woman explaining excitedly, "So, like, it was like I was like that's _impossible_!  And, like, she was like 'No! It isn't!' Like, then I was like it still sounds kind of crazy like."

  Admittedly this is not an exact transcription, but I promise you it comes very close.  She certainly used "like" more densely (no pun intended) than any other speaker I've ever heard.

  I may have mentioned previously that the first time I became aware of "to be like," meaning "to think or say," was as late as 1984, though it has since been antedated by some few years.


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