"Like" abuse redivivus

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Mon Apr 14 18:46:40 UTC 2008

on 4/14/08 12:25 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky at zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU wrote:

> On Apr 13, 2008, at 6:37 PM, Benjamin Lukoff wrote:
>> On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>>> In hindsight, I believe it seemed understandable to me as an
>>> extention/contraction of "(What) he (said was something like), Q"--
>>> which is, after all, what
>>> it meant (at least then). There were other such quotatives going
>>> around then as
>>> well, at least one of which I reported in the early 1980s in AS:
>>> "BE all," as
>>> in "And he was all, 'Q'."
>> I once tried conducting an informal survey of my friends as to whether
>> they saw any difference between "And he was all, 'Q'" and "And he was,
>> like, 'Q'". I got absolutely nowhere. *Is* there a difference in
>> meaning
>> here?
> you'd think that reflecting on how you use variants would be a good
> way to tease out differences in their meaning or discourse function,
> but in fact it's a perfectly dreadful research strategy.  this kind of
> side-by-side comparison combined with introspection never leads to
> reliable data, though as a first pass it can provide hints as to where
> to look for actual data.
> the problem is that either you come up with nothing (even when there
> are differences) or the accidents of your thought processes cause you
> to fabricate distinctions in meaning or use (though the variants *are*
> distinguished, but primarily on sociolinguistic grounds, or they're
> distinguished in meaning or use, but not along the dimension you came
> up with).  making judgments about grammaticality and appropriateness
> in context is hard enough (though there are ways to collect such data
> that reduce some of the noise), but introspecting about meanings and
> uses is like introspecting about the formal aspects of grammatical
> rules; we just don't have access to our knowledge of grammar and
> lexicon, only to consequences of that knowledge.
> side-by-side comparison just makes things worse.  for a critique in a
> different context, here's:
> Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
> (Little, Brown, 2005), pp. 158-9:
> The difficulty with interpreting the Pepsi Challenge findings begins
> with the fact that they were based on what the industry calls a sip
> test or a CLT (central location test).  Tasters don't drink the entire
> can.  They take a sip from a cup of each of the brands being tested
> and then make their choice.  Now suppose I were to ask you to test a
> soft drink a little differently.  What if you were to take a case of
> the drink home and tell me what you think after a few weeks?  Would
> that change your opinion?  It turns out it would.  Carol Dollard, who
> worked for Pepsi for many years in new-product development, says,
> "I've seen many times when the CLT will give you one result and the
> home-use test will give you the exact opposite.  For example, in a
> CLT, consumers might taste three or four different products in a row,
> taking a sip or couple sips of each.  A sip is very different from
> sitting and drinking a whole beverage on your own.  Sometimes a sip
> tastes good and a whole bottle doesn't.  That's why home-use tests
> give you the best information.  The user isn't in an artificial
> setting  They are at home, sitting in front of the TV, and the way
> they feel in that situation is the most reflective of how they will
> behave when the product hits the market."
> -----
> note the distinction between reflection and choices-in-action.  much
> as in the linguistic case, where we need to collect data about how
> particular people use which variants in which contexts for what
> purposes, and to get at knowledge of grammar and lexicon in various
> indirect ways.
> as for quotative "all" vs. quotative "like", there's quite a bit of
> literature about differences in the contexts of use.  the situation is
> complex, because different groups of speakers at different times have
> somewhat different systems, but it looks like everybody with the two
> non-standard quotatives uses them in different (though overlapping)
> ways.  quotative "all" seems to be generally favored by simple present
> tense; in a sense, it's more "vivid" than quotative "like".  and, from
> the Rickford et al. paper:
> "for the 2005 corpus, all is quite different from like with respect to
> this constraint [occurrence with a representation of speech or
> thought]. It rather seems to pattern like the older quotatives say and
> go in being favored for the introduction of actual speech."
> there's a lot more.
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
This reminds me of a strategy employed by Philip Morris back in the 40s.
They had representatives among the student body (at college level) who would
get the mark to do a taste test.  The procedure involved smoking a bit of a
PM first, then another brand.  The second cig always tasted horrible.  (Had
it been done t'other way 'round, the PM would have been rejected.)  The rep
also handed out free mini packs (4 cigs). Legal drug dealers!

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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