The Lost Adolescence Of “Like”

from First Things

When the 35-year-old man behind me recounts his weekend adventure to a buddy and drops a like into every sentence, another voice pops into my head. It’s 1982, and a fourteen-year-old girl is bleating, “I, like, love going into, like, clothing stores and stuff.…He was, like, freaking me out.…Gag me with a spoon!”

That was Moon Unit Zappa in the song “Valley Girl,” the first formal recognition (as far as I know) of a whole new idiom in American life. You can hear it on YouTube and see her on TV.

Older readers of this website remember Moon Unit’s father, Frank Zappa, as a renowned, quirky wordsmith in the pop music scene. But the verbal tics of his daughter’s San Fernando Valley peers drove Zappa crazy, and he had to fire back with satire. Indeed, his interspersed commentary in the song treated their speech as a disease: “She’s a Valley Girl / And there is no cure.”

I was just over the hill in Westwood at the time, starting graduate school in English, which would entail teaching freshman composition. Lots of kids from Southern California passed through our classes, but very little Valleyspeak popped up on campus. It was a regional and class marker, not something for intelligent adults. We thought the song a hilarious send-up of teen brainlessness and self-regard. Nobody in college would ever talk that way, and after the song became a hit, with Moon Unit performing on TV and a Hollywood movie inspired by it a year later, any grownup would certainly be embarrassed to utter, “And I was just, like…totally…’n stuff.”

Boy, were we wrong. Now it’s everywhere. The like lingo is the casual language of private affairs and the public square. The adolescence of the ’80s has become the adulthood of the ’10s. Everyone who adopts it confesses to bad grammar and an eighth-grade lexicon, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Apparently, apart from the smothering conformity of mass media and youth culture, the habit offers advantages that overcome the flat stupidity of the habit.

More here.

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20 Responses to The Lost Adolescence Of “Like”

  1. Andre Bakhos September 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

    The article states how “The like lingo is the casual language of private affairs and the public square. The adolescence of the ’80s has become the adulthood of the ’10s” (Baurlein). During the 1980’s, the use of “like” was seen as naïve and immature, something teenagers would use when they were with friends to describe their daily happenings. While many youth from that age shook off the needless additives to their speech, this youthful language has unfortunately crept into the twenty-first century, and has now become the norm for young adults.

    The rise of the word “like,” as substitutes for pauses in speech, can be the result of someone under pressure or unsure of what they are saying. They do not have enough time to collect their thoughts before they are scrutinized and questioned for their thought process, and they falter. This can happen in a courtroom, an interview, or a Q&A session, but I will focus on a classroom setting, where a student is asked a question by the professor and must answer it. This is one of the most likely scenarios where “like” is used for a few reasons. The first is that the speaker will placed under pressure, but not only from the question asked by the professor, but by the judgmental eyes and ears of the class around them. Next, the person answering the question is likely to be young, as they are still in school, so are more susceptible to using needless speech additives, and are usually less confident in themselves. If the student were explaining to a professor their answer to a question, but is not able to gather their thoughts, they may use “like” to buy time when coming up with an answer, or beat around the question. This student lacks confidence to directly say what they mean, for fear of being wrong, or just does not know the answer at all. The pressure that the professor is putting on the student could also factor in, as they are being timed and intimidated, and do not wish to seem clueless. In addition, the surrounding class has their eyes on the one student, which further influences their tendency to stutter, and use the word “like.”

    One of the causes of such adolescent speech patterns can be linked to the inclination to not be wrong. By saying “like,” the person giving directions, advice, or an answer can seem neutral in their viewpoint, unsure if what they are saying is fact, but still giving the most accurate information they can provide.

    There is actually quite a simple solution to this problem. Most people are too quick to answer a question, most likely because they wish to outdo the competition to separate themselves from the pack. If people took their time to answer questions, thought about what they were going to say, and did not rush to simply spit words out, they would minimize, or even eliminate their use of the word “like.” It should be encouraged and practiced in classrooms across the nation, that when a student raises their hand to answer a question, they will have a short period, around 30 seconds, to completely gather their thoughts before answering. It would be more likely that the student will answer the question completely, correctly, and with concise points. This would negate the use of “like,” which is often said without the speaker even realizing they are saying it. When they are corrected by someone and told not say “like,” while giving answers, they attempt to remove it from their speech, causing a stutter of words as they concentrate on removing “like,” instead of what they were trying to say.

    Removing “like” as an additive between words is not a simple task, but it is doable. The negation will not happen immediately, but will take time and patience. With this time and patience, however, the results yielded will both be satisfying and rewarding to those speaking, as they will feel more confident and seem more intelligent. Not only does it benefit the speaker, but the listener as well, because they will be spared from hearing such sentences as “Like, go to the court and, ask for the, like, guy who wears the,

    • Andre Bakhos September 1, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

      like, black robe.”

    • Henry Steck September 8, 2017 at 8:04 pm #

      Andre-

      I really like the point you made in your fourth paragraph. This is a skill that can be utilized by anyone to help combat the plague that continues to rip through the vocabularies of adolescents in English speaking environments worldwide. As you mentioned, all it takes is a few seconds of thought collection to produce a much more confident response, free of “like”. Responses made after the 30 second period you mentioned, I think the discrepancies would be clear if compared to response made just after receiving a question.

      The other day I met with Professor Lovisek from the Finance department. I threw some questions his way which were slightly — or in some cases quite — outlandish. In answering some of the questions he would sit back in his seat and let the room fill with silence before presenting his perfect response (the gentleman is wicked smart). Many of these pauses were uncomfortable by generally accepted adolescent conversational standards, but represented a brilliant tactic which anyone can employ in general conversation or in more formal settings such as interviews.

      In an interview it is not against the rules to pause after a question is issued to construct an answer, so why don’t interviewees? We should all “like” take a leaf from Professor Lovisek’s book.

  2. Andre Bakhos September 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    like, black robe.”

  3. Lucas Nieves-Violet September 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    This article describes and shows the readers how a word such as “like” adopted by the 80”s youth can damage and weaken someone’s grammatical point when being used. Throughout his article Mark Bauerlein describes the word “like” as a disease. The term is mostly used amongst teenagers and younger communities but is very hard to get rid off once picked up. Not only is the word a huge placeholder in sentences but people have tendencies of dropping it how ever they please. More commonly the word may additionally be heard two to three times if not more in one setting. The importance of this issue hides greater cause and affects all upcoming generations
    One may find the word “like” to be the equivalent of saying “Uhm.” If anyone has ever had the chance to sit with someone who says ‘Uhm” they will know exactly what Bauerlein means when asking to be “gagged with a spoon.” Using “Uhm” and “Like” are not only awkward and unprofessional they diminish the point a person is trying to make, but it also makes them look and seem less interesting and smart for that matter. The word “Like” mainly takes away from what a person is trying to say in a sentence. The details that make the sentence are substituted and, thus for the reason why the sentence may seem ongoing as well as repetitive. In its essence “like” is a sort of contraction word, it helps unsure speakers look for their words. Bauerlein describes it as followed: “It is a disfluency, a placeholder for when a person can’t find the word for what she wants to say.” Today the word “like” has become a default word for people to go to, or use. “Like” is used to describe something, a feeling or an emotion but the trouble we are facing today is that it’s intended use is to help the speaker find their words.
    While “like” may be an easy word to use its repetitiveness is in noway elegant. Young communities and teens of the 10’ and 80’s are as mentioned in the article; I would even say my generation and the many more to come will struggle with the use of the word “like.” This is not only because younger generation learns from the previous ones but because the word itself is simply too easy not to use. It is almost as if it has become common, and routine to use it and hear it as much. While this is true, this word destroys proper linguistic and grammar etiquette. It takes away from actually building a structured sentence with clear thoughts and descriptions.
    The fact that everyone has become so accustomed to using the word “like” makes us indifferent form another. We all suddenly become a-like, (no pun intended). We are now so shocked or almost deranged when we hear someone speaking without using the word “like,” we think to ourselves, -”Wow this person this person must be proper or smart.” The difference is that the other person simply knows how to collect their thoughts together and express themselves. When using “like,” we are interpreted as unsure of what we are saying do we mean that something is “like” that or is it? The lines start to blur. We feel so rushed to answer that instead of responding with a clear mind and thinking what should be said we say “like.”.
    As mentioned previously the case of the “Like disease” mostly concerns the youth and the coming up generations. While we know and understand that “like” affects not only the way we talk the but the way we are perceived it can additionally have much greater consequences. In his last paragraph, Bauerlein discusses and shares with the audience how important it is to stand out as a college student and young millennials. He denounces the best way to do so is to not slip “like” in our sentences. This is a grave issue as we were brought up to say “like” as if it was normal. Employers in the professional world are looking for people who are mature and who can explain themselves. Ultimately I join Bauerlein on his last point being made which is to urge parents of coming generations to teach and tell their children how important speaking properly is for their future.

  4. Nicholas Birchby September 7, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    “The Lost Adolescence of Like” was describing how our language has evolved. When we are unsure of what we are saying, people tend to find a space filler. Words such as, like, um, and stuff are all great examples of these so called space fillers. My whole life people have used these terms and it took me 17 years to see why it is so detrimental. My senior year of high school I took a class called Public Speaking. Every week we would have to give a two minute impromptu speech on a completely random topic. If any space fillers were included in your speech, your timer would reset and you were forced to start over. That class made me realize how unprofessional you sound when you use these space fillers during a speech or in a business environment. I also began to count the amount of times someone will use the space filler “like” in a sentence, just as my teacher use to do. As the article mentions, these space fillers are used when the speaker cannot find the appropriate words they want to say. Instead, it would be more professional for them to just pause speaking for a moment, and continue once you have refocused. On the other hand, there are ways that this speech epidemic can benefit me. By beginning to break myself of this habit during high school, I have already gained an advantage. When looking at who a company is going to hire, they want someone who can communicate clearly, speak well, and sound professional. The difference in getting hired right out of college could come down to who presented themselves better in an interview, you or your competition? If you are very professional sounding and speak very clearly, you are certainly more likely to land the job then if you were using space fillers and were unsure of yourself. I never truly realized how much people use space fillers in every day speech until I took my public speaking class. Some days there would be people who would have to restart ten times, because they could barely finish a sentence without saying the word “like”. That teacher was doing the right thing, he was teaching us how we truly do speak like children, and must learn to adapt our language for the professional world. Without him, this course would be the first time I discussed the use of the word “like” in a class discussion. The Article also states how people typically use the word “like” to soften the meaning of what they are saying, so that they are not “imposing on others”. Adding the word “like” into a sentence where it is not needed adds an aspect of confusion. The article uses the example of a boy asking out a girl, “Uh, do you, like, want to like, go out this weekend?” When you read it aloud, it is obvious that you should not speak like that. However, for most millennials it is already fried into our brains that this is how we speak, and the habit is hard to shed. Including the word “like” in a sentence also can provide the speaker with a buffer for error, in case their statement is wrong. As the article says, “Oh, the freeway is, like, five miles away, and it will take you, like, twenty minutes to get there.” By adding the “likes”, the speaker has an escape from responsibility so they can claim they were just giving the best information they have, rather than the correct information. Ultimately, I think this problem of using space fillers during speech can only be solved by the parents. The best way to teach a kid something is to begin it when they are young. If from the beginning of your child’s life you are teaching them the correct ways to speak and carry themselves, their chances of using space fillers would be drastically lower.

  5. Valerie Dorsett September 7, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

    Communication these days has become very casual. The way we speak is often not corrected and ignored, which now has left us with some bad habits. Back in the 1980’s using the word “like” was something teenage girls would usually say to emphasize something. Mark Bauerlein in his article, “The Lost Adolescence of Like,” explains how using the term “like” has evolved over the past couple of years. One example he uses is, “It’s 1982, and a fourteen-year-old girl is bleating, ‘I, like, love going into, like, clothing stores and stuff…’” which shows that using the word “like” was only popular when used to explain and exaggerate a sentence in young girls (Bauerlein 1). Today the word “like” has evolved in a way that people from the 1980’s probably would not have imagined.

    People now use the word “like” almost all the time. It does not only apply to teenage girls, but men and women of all ages. As Bauerlein states, “The adolescence of the ’80s has become the adulthood of the ’10s,” because inserting the word “like” is now a social norm (Bauerlein 2). Even though most people agree that using “like” in a sentence like that is unprofessional and not grammatically correct, there does not seem to be a stop to it anytime soon. In fact, most people do not even realize that they are even saying “like” in-between their thoughts because they are so accustomed to using “like” in everyday life.

    People insert the word like into their sentences because of many reasons. One main reason is that the person is nervous. This occurs to people of all ages in many different circumstances. An example could be an adult giving a presentation to his boss and because he is so nervous to do well and impress his boss with his idea he may add the word “like” into his sentences when it is not necessary. A student may use the word “like” if they get caught off guard by someone and put on the spot. An example would be if a teacher called on a student and the student was so nervous that before fully thinking of an answer they add the word “like” in between to think of what they will say next. It is also just a form a habit to a point that if you told a student that they are using the word “like” that much they would not even remember using it.

    Personally, I have dealt with the exact same problem. I use the word “like” in my sentences without even realizing it most of the time. After reading this article, I started to pay attention more to how I was speaking. I have discovered that I use the word “like” in my daily conversations not even when I am nervous. Bauerlein uses the example, “When a person recounts a delicious dinner from the night before and, instead of detailing the food, mentions each dish briefly, then blurts, ‘I was, like, WOW,’ and, ‘It was just, like, amazing,’ a far-reaching turn has occurred,” which is now the new reality of how people describe anything (Bauerlein 2). If someone cannot find the exact word they are looking for they will also use the word “like” instead or as a way to pause and think about what they would like to say instead.

    When I was younger, I wish someone told me to not use the word “like” as much because it is a hard habit to shake off. Bauerlein offers a plan of action when he says, “The sooner they coach their charges out of the like disease, the more their charges will grow and prosper,” which simply means the sooner teachers, parents, and adult figures teach the younger generation to stop using the word “like” then this grammatical problem could go away. I used to think that using the word “like” was not such a bad thing to do. However, this article “The Lost Adolescence of ‘Like’” made me realize how unprofessional it sounds. I will definitely try to break this habit of mine now because of it.

  6. Erik Peterson September 8, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    The word “like” has become a part of everyday vocabulary within America’s youth over the past 30 years. The article states that the word first became prominent through pop culture in the song “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa in 1982. Throughout the song, there are breaks in the lyrics, and a teenage girl can be heard talking in the background, using “valley speak”. It is obvious that Frank Zappa, the artist responsible for the song, was making fun of the way that people like the teenage girl were speaking at the time. The author of the article recalls hearing that song when he was in college. Neither him nor his peers thought that people would continue to speak in that way, and, in fact, they really enjoyed the song.
    It is pretty obvious that the author and his classmates were wrong regarding that type of speech falling by the wayside. Today, “like” is an extremely common word to use, and it is one of the most common (and most annoying) bad habits among America’s youth. But why do people use the word “like” so often? American youth often use the word to break up sentences, “soften advice” if they are unsure about a particular detail within their sentence, or they use “like” as a filler word, when they just can’t find the right words to say.
    Most people would find the adoption of the word to be completely harmless. Some would say that our language is just evolving, as it always has, and that this is the new norm. However, the overuse and misuse of the word “like” (much like the word “legitimate”) takes focus off of the real matters at hand. The article uses a made up food review as an example. The person that is describing the food that they ate isn’t actually describing the food at all. When using the word “like”, the food reviewer ends up talking more about his or her personal experiences, rather than describing how the food was cooked, what it tasted like, or how it was presented. People who use the word “like” too often lose sight of everything that is going on around them, and end up making matters more subjective rather than objective.
    From a business perspective, using the word “like” is even worse. I believe that people who speak with that kind of language during a job interview, networking event, or some other interaction with potential employers would automatically cripple that person’s opportunity to get a job. People who constantly use the word “like” in their speech sound unprofessional, especially when you realize how often you say it, and how bad your speech looks when you see it on paper. The article also says that people who use this kind of language are often unable to distinguish themselves from the rest of the applicants, making it even more difficult to get a job.
    I think that young people in America need to try and break this habit. Over the past few days, I am constantly catching myself saying “like” when I am having regular conversations with people, and every time I hear myself say it, I get more and more annoyed. Some day, I hope to break this habit, because of the way it makes me sound. In the future, when I apply for a professional position, I don’t want to be “that applicant” that makes a complete fool of themselves because of the way he talks. I think that a lot of people my age should be trying to do the same thing as me. Constantly saying the word “like” is not going to get you further in life. It is better off to pause, take a second, and think about what you are going to say before you actually say it.

  7. Rebecca Hu September 8, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    The word “like” is everywhere in our daily vocabulary, especially in teenagers. The article, The Lost Adolescence of “Like” written by Mark Bauerlein looks into the word like. You don’t realize how many “like” you use in a day. Just take some time and think about it, “like” is a very common term we use on daily basis.
    Bauerlein discusses in the article “It was a regional and class marker, not something for intelligent adults”. The usage of the word “like” is not associated with adults, it sounds that you are uncertain of the material. It is more and more popular, “millennials have a policy of not imposing on others, and the non-assertive pause ‘like’ appeals to them”. The word “like” serve as a pause shows uncertainty and can be a thinking pause.
    This part reminds me of Japanese people. Japan is known for their politeness. Just hearing one of their conversation in real life, there are many pauses. Therefore, in their conversation, we can hear “hmm”, “umm”, “eee”, “ah”. I practice Kendo so from time to time when talking to my Japanese seniors they always have long pauses. After asking, it is because through this action they show some degree of interaction and prove that they are listening to the conversation.
    Of course, every culture and language are different, I think we can agree on one thing is that no one wants to hear a presentation full of words such as “like” and “um”, firstly it shows the person does not know all the information they need to. The presentation drags on to be too long and boring. So therefore maybe in some culture, it is acceptable to use words that pause the conversation, however, it just does not sound good in a formal setting.
    From the article, it shows by using words such as “like” it shows some degree of uncertainty and “we go from objective facts to subjective effects”. This is probably why we are not allowed to use the word “like” in Professor Shannon’s class. I remember my AP Psychology teacher also prohibit students from using the word “like”. I think the biggest difference between the usages of pause in Japanese is that in Japan the pauses show that they are listening. It does not have any attached meaning, it is a sound they make when they are thinking to prove that they are listening to you the conversation. With the pauses, it only happens when they are engaging a conversation with two or more people.
    I thought I don’t use the word “like” as much as other students, however, look back if there are no rules preventing me from using it. I will use it. The best way of preventing usage of “like” is probably started by setting a rule for yourself, constantly remind yourself to not use the word. Especially when presenting or just any situation in the business world. Using the word “like” presents yourself as a person that does not know all the information. I think it is especially important for us to start now and remind ourselves to refrain from using this word because we are all business students and one day we will be in the professional workforce. I do not think anyone wants to present themselves as an unprepared person.

  8. Brian Ayoub September 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    The Lost Adolescence Of “Like” is an article that my generation can relate to. If I could erase the word from my vocabulary, I would. However the word “like” before continuing a sentence is driven into my speech. There are many eye opening points that Bauerlein, the author, brings up. The first of which is when he mentions that the “adolescence of the ’80s has become the adulthood of the ’10s.” I disagree with this point because I rarely see adults using the term “like”. It is definitely a fad that has come up with the emergence of social media. The mass manipulation of the minds of the youth by “relatable” content has continued the horrible speech of the youth and is not doing anything to lead my generation to take the next step into speaking like a proper adult. How is my generation supposed to develop adult-like language when 75% of our communication is through social media. Instead of breaking up with a girlfriend face to face, we would rather text or message them and use emojis to display emotion and deliver a form of communication. Until my generation gets over the obsession with cell phones and social media, I believe our language will continue to be filled with “like” and other verbal crutches and placeholders.
    Even a simple thing like telling a friend an exciting story comes with frequent use of “like”. I am not accustomed to pausing my speech if I don’t know what to say. I usual use “like” or “uhhh” to hold my place until I think of something to say. This is what my generation does and I really can’t explain how to start a collective change. Everyone needs to begin moving away from their life of poor lingo, and begin to further their language, as I believe this is what is needed to start a generational change.
    Bauerlein talks about millennials not imposing themselves. I completely agree with his stance on this topic, because I am guilty of using “like” to display lack of confidence when I am unsure of something. For example, when i’m in situations where I am nervous and unsure of a result I use “like” to soften my stance. This helps me get over the fear of failing or looking stupid. However, I know if I want to succeed in the business world, i’m going to have to start acting and talking like a confident business man who is 100% confident of myself. My old accounting teacher is high school told me something that I will never forget. He said “fake it until you make it” and “fake it until you become it”. This holds near to my heart because it helps me be sure of myself and be confident. So what if I get a question wrong in class? So what if I try something and fail? I learned that trying and failing is better than not trying at all. Of course this doesn’t directly relate to the article, however I believe that the term “like” portrays a bigger problem in my generation. It demonstrates the lack of confidence that my generation has compared to the generation above me. I know it is rare that a person my age doesn’t use “like”, holds great eye contact, and can hold a conversation. However, this is what is needed to become a successful person. Once my generation learns to get rid of these bad habits, we will become more successful and start getting taken more seriously by the older generations.

  9. Adam Rakowski September 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    It is quite amusing to read articles that address these common occurrences and then recall the time a classmate managed to use the word “like” exactly 29 times when asked to give feedback on the meditations of Descartes… Not only does the absurd repetition of the word make you look like an indecisive person, it also displays your lack of vocabulary and verbal sentence structure skills. Now, it would be foolish of me to say that I was never victim of the “like” phenomenon, so I must say that I do use it in casual conversations among sibling of childhood friend. Whenever I find myself conversing in a professional setting with a professor or fellow employee, however, I would much rather to choose to pause for 2 seconds than fill my responses with unnecessary and emphatic words. I was entertained by the article’s mention of Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl” because I was very much aware of the song before reading this but I never took the time and thought how relevant it actually is 35 years later! It is unfortunate to see how a song so archaic by today’s standards is still so prevalent in society’s grammatical stigma.
    I honestly do not think that people would make such a big deal out of this, especially considering how it has been pretty much accepted at this point, if people understood the limits of using that particular idiom. I personally think that it is completely fine if you use extremely casual and even slangy language when having a personal conversation with someone, you have known all your life but once you cross that boundary and find yourself discussing topics with your manager or senior administrator, you make yourself look laughable. Studies have shown that the use of words and phrases such as “like”, “you know”, and “I mean” is a result of complicated thought processes that trigger the brain to freeze for a short period of time and lose focus of the idea that was originally planned. Therefore, the use of these discourse markers might common because of peoples’ extreme effort to sound conscientious and say more than they actually comprehend. These realizations and occurrences do not, by any means, make you sound any smarter, though. It is wiser to take a minute to think before you speak and establish a response fitting for a professional conversation.
    I will play the devil’s advocate here. I will not defend those that excessively use “like” but I will definitely defend the word itself! What we seem to get annoyed by is “like” in adjective form but we cannot ignore the fact that a verb variant of the word exists. The verb form and the adjective form are completely separate words. Both of them have their own unique meaning and are placed in sentences at different places and times in a sentence. Even the fact that the words are homonyms, the way they are utilized also effects the general way they are pronounced.
    At the end of the day, if this grammatical commonality was not abolished 35 years ago with “Valley Girl”, I find it hard to believe it will end any time soon purely, because of how popular and widespread it has become especially among the adolescent community. Great Article!

  10. Shiyun Ye September 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    As in 21st century, numerous changes have been made to our life for us to live more convenient and easier. For example, the invention of internet has made the normal communication manner evolved into another new style. Moreover, people tend to lighten the usage of complex words in their sentences. The article “The Lost Adolescence of ‘Like’” by Mark Bauerlein perfectly demonstrates how this phenomenon is more and more severe. Public is no longer using well-phrased expressions to convey their ideas, instead they use a massive amount of “like” inside almost every little conversations. As indicated in the article, frequently using “like” in the conversation can soften the powerfulness and reverse a strong tone. For instance, if a man comes to a girl and says: “Uh, do you, like, want to, like, go out this weekend?” He can either be interpreted as shy by the girl or be rejected directly due to his poor behavior.

    Moreover, the usage of “like” usually indicates a given of vague information. People use this when they have no idea or not sure on what they should say. It is a highly inappropriate action especially in business world. For example, if you present your company to an important meeting with various headquarters from valuable investment corporations, you certainly cannot say “like”, which shows your unprofessional image as well as ruins the company’s reputation. However, because of the prosperous of “like” in today’s common dialogue, sometimes you just unconsciously speak it out even when you have prepared enough. Therefore, decreasing the amount of using “like” for professional workers is a vital task these days. Not only in the area of professionals, should teenagers and their parents be aware of the effect caused by this phenomenon. It is a habit that need to be changed in case of the embarrassing situation happened in the future. Moreover, as college students who are extremely near to be in society, the declining usage of “like” can only be beneficial to their futures.

    However, “like” is not always a bad word of expressing an idea. As Bauerlein states in the article, when a person describes how delicious a food was, he or she can utilize “like” as a powerful weapon to let the audience feel the sensation instead of only imagining by combination of fancy words. It is called the “objective effect to subjective effect.” Personally, I feel the strong impact of this usage of “like” the most because I am an international student whose English vocabularies are not as many as native English speakers. Therefore, sometimes when I try to describe an object or narrate a story, I frequently add “like” into my descriptions to draw a clearer picture to my listeners. It is a useful technique when I want to make my audiences more engaged and understand me better.

    Therefore, there are two sides of the story when discussing about “like.” Nevertheless, even when the technologies and the trend is encouraging us to be easier on multiple things including languages, a person who wants to be successful should never follow the fashion. As a student in Business Law, I require myself that do not use “like” in any of the conversations in class. Moreover, I am also trying my best to avoid inserting “like” in daily communications because once it becomes a habit; it will be dangerous to say it unconsciously. I believe most of the people these days are more willing to be seen as a professional instead of an unprofessional student or employee.

  11. Alison Amen September 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    This article explains how the simple word “like,” which was adopted by the 80’s youth, can have effects on society’s grammatical communication with one another. The author goes through out the article describing scenarios where he has word the word “like” being overused. The word “like” is a word that is said when people cannot think of another word to say so they use “like” in place. Younger generations have picked up this trend and now you hear it almost all the time. People tend to use words such as like when they are uncertain of what word choice to use or are trying to portray an idea. When people are pressured or being questioned but do not have enough time to get their thoughts out they tend to use “like” to by some time to think about what they want to say. It almost comes out naturally to people to say like or um because they are filler words that are built into our vocabulary.
    We live in a generation that people under the age of 40 use the word “like” religiously. It is crazy to think that when we do not know how to express our ideas we use filler words because we simply cannot think of better words to put in place. How you talk shows people who you are, where you’re from and how educated you are. People make assumptions about you according to how you communicate with other people. However, many people these days have built these filler words into their speech and this messes up their sentences and makes them seem unsure and even a bit uneducated. Once you have gotten into the habit of saying the word “like” it is often very hard to break that habit. A few ways to do this is by pausing every time you want to say it and thinking of a different word, ask others to catch you when you say “like”, and replace the word with something else. I believe that you should use the word like if you do not use it often or overuse it. Using the word “like” to frequently can often distract the listener’s attention from you because they are too focused on you saying “like”.

  12. zonghao li September 15, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    Evolution exists whether you want to deny it or not. Whether it is the biological definition or the English language, change always happens and it always happens when there is a sufficient amount of “new things.” Just like how a species evolve as organisms with useless traits die out, the English language evolves as people abandon the archaic ways to suit modern purposes.
    The article “The Lost Adolescence of ‘Like’” illustrates how the youthful phrase “like” is accepted in modern society because it helps the speaker seem less imposing on others, convey advice when he or she is not sure, and act as a placeholder for when one cannot find the word for what one wants to say. While some see the increasing use of “like” and society’s increasing acceptability of it as a natural course of evolution, others see it as a worrying trend. English teachers and other people who value eloquence point out that when “like” is used such as the phrase “I was, like, WOW” is used, the speaker does not convey the actual description of said thing, and rather chooses to solely describe his or her emotion. The important distinction here is that the speaker does not describe objective facts, he describes subjective effects. Inherently, this makes users of the word “like” more narcissistic because usage in the way described above is purely subjective. At the very least, if one uses the word “like” as the situation described above, one will always start on the premise of one’s thoughts or perspective. Thus, as our preference for the word “like” improves, more important social values such as harmony and compassion will be thrown out for self preservation to an extent.
    Another way “like” can be used is as a placeholder, which exposes the user to the danger of including unimportant details. From a business and law perspective, this is inefficient and is thus detrimental. Businessmen need to convey messages in the shortest way possible to maximize profits. The phrase time is money is doubly important to businessmen, and therefore, if the word “like” is used in a conversation between businessmen, it is probable that both time and money will be lost. In a similar manner, lawyers who need to convey the message in the fullest way need to avoid words such as “like” to ensure that the opposing party fully understands the message. In the legal world, even one word on a contract can be subjected to interpretation, meaning even one word may be the key to a million dollar lawsuit. The 2014 lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy illustrates this example perfectly, as the class action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers may very well depend on the court decision on what the lack of Oxford comma means.
    In a larger sense, we need to evaluate how modern advancements impact our lives because other aspects may not be on the same level yet. For example, the current business industry may lean towards a more cutthroat style of life, but who knows what kind of impact that automation and robots would bring? Therefore, it is up to us to change as individuals and adapt as newer technology or information is discovered. Just like how the 13th amendment changed to ban slavery, as times move on, our laws and values need to change as well.

  13. Chris O'Handley September 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    “The Lost Adolescence of Like” refers to this generation’s excessive and unnecessary use of the word like. Rather than using this word for its true meaning, people now use the word in place of a comma. This is both grammatically incorrect and frankly quite annoying to hear. Instead of taking the time to pause and gather your thoughts, you are wasting your breath saying a word that has no place in your sentence. Using the word like in place of a comma is a bad habit but it is a habit nonetheless. Habits are tough to break and this one is no different. Once you begin to use the word like as a comma it can be a bit of a slippery slope from there. Before long, you may find yourself using it every time you pause and it begins to precede words and can ultimately change what it is you are trying to say. For example, if I were to say “I was walking down the trail and there were these like huge animals and they started like going after each other” you really would have no idea what I was talking about. Were the animals actually huge or were they just like huge and did they actually go after each other or did they kind of just like sort of go after each other. The use of the word like causes confusion because you do not know if I’m talking literally or if I’m using the word like to exaggerate what it is I am trying to say. Even if whoever you are speaking to can still clearly understand what it is you are trying to say, which is more commonly the case, it can still be very annoying to listen to. Using the word like when it has no place in your sentence makes you sound less intelligent and overall takes away from the point you are trying to make. Like I said earlier, I realize this is a habit and I still sometimes find myself saying like just because I have nothing else to say and I am in the midst of gathering my thoughts. However, habits are meant to be broken and you can only begin to break a habit once you realize you are doing it. That is the problem with most of the people who suffer from this habit, they do not even realize they are doing it. It is kind of just an instinct to say like when you do not know exactly where you are going with your thought because it breaks that awkward silence and buys you a little bit of time to try and find the right wording. As Michael Scott once said, “Half of the time I don’t even know where I’m going with a sentence. I just start talking and hope I find it along the way.” Doing this makes you much more likely to lose your train of thought and have to say like when you need to think about what to say next. I think people actually do this more often than you would expect and although it seems like a harmless habit, it really can take away from your point and absolutely does make you sound less intelligent so it is a habit that all of us need to try and break.

  14. Gabriel Gonzales September 22, 2017 at 9:15 am #

    “The Lost of Adolescence of Like” describes how the language of like has

    evolved from its meaning of similarity to now being space fillers. Words such as like

    or um have become common place holders when speaking in moments where a

    person has a lapse in conversation. Attempting to formulate a coherent thought or

    statement becomes rigorous as most people don’t want to sound either redundant

    or nonsensical, so they’ll use space fillers in order to regain composure in their

    conversation to allow the information to process. Nowadays, our generation makes

    using these types words commonplace when socializing with a person or group of

    people we are comfortable with.

    A point in the article that held my interest was the paragraph about authorities

    on English and the guardians of eloquence. The point was the professionals on the

    topic of the English language, rather than critique the improper use of the word,

    understood the impact behind the word. Although the conversation went about to

    the extent of, “I was, like, WOW,” when talking about a delicious meal, they still

    able to interpret the intent that they enjoyed the meal. Language is ever changing

    and linguistics adapts just as the times do. I attribute the “like” situation to ones of

    developments such as slang. Newer generations have developed the words such

    as Gucci as opposed to saying something good or saying lit instead of describing

    something as exciting. I feel language takes on the person and develops based on

    the social environment and atmosphere in today’s society. When a person says

    like, I feel it’s not as if they are necessarily trying to sound like they are in

    Valleyspeak, rather the environment they are in warrants them to use that language

    in order to adapt and converse with people around them.

    Personally, I am guilty of using space fillers. I use to say like out of context

    often. These days, I still use words such as like or um but I have slowly phased out

    words such as those in favor of space fillers which I find to be a bit more robust

    when it comes to my vocabulary. For example, when I am lost for thought, I’ll say

    something to the degree of, “Society is at its most venerable when…..basically.” I

    use words such as basically or essentially to sound, in my opinion, more proper.

    For me, basically or essentially are just as interchangeable as like or um. I just put

    my own spin twist on it. What I’ve learned in public speaking and strategic speech

    classes is that these words are crutch words, simple adage people use to flow a

    statement together that would normally seem out of place not unlike space fillers. I

    feel growing out of words such as like or um is like any other habits. Old habits

    tend to die hard. At the same time, as language develops, we may come to realize

    that some quirks and idiosyncrasies in our language could become tomorrow’s

    social norm.

  15. Caitlin Gardner September 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    In the past two decades, the level of maturity in language has taken a big hit. Bauerlein explains that the adolescence of the ’80s has become the adulthood of the ’10s. Everyone who adopts it confesses to bad grammar and an eighth-grade lexicon, but that doesn’t seem to matter (Bauerlein). Valleyspeak has become increasingly popular and while some people use filler words such as like, cool, stuff, totally, and awesome, it may cost them respect from professionals. These words are a placeholder for when a person can’t find the word for what they wants to say (Bauerlein). Unfortunately, new generations are picking up on society’s bad habit of using filler words and will have difficulty breaking up this trend and interacting with older generations. It is a rarity to meet youthful individuals who can participate in a professional conversation without saying “um” or “like” in every other sentence. It is important for parents to teach their children proper grammar if they want them to become successful.
    Personally, I believe that it is important for society to tackle this problem now before it continues on to future generations. In his article, Bauerlein says, “most people find these usages harmless, and linguists would judge them one of the ordinary evolutions of speech. Linguists long ago gave up on evaluative judgments of verbal taste.” I disagree with linguists’ acceptance of this poor habit. People who constantly use filler words sound uneducated. In result, I do not respect their level of professionalism.
    There are many approaches people can take to kick their habit of using filler words. I used to catch myself saying “like” and “um” incorrectly all of the time, but I realized that I could correct myself. In order to sound more sophisticated, I learned to select my words more carefully before I spoke. On top of that, I would either slightly punish myself or reward myself for my behavior. It is important to use proper grammar and professional word choice when interacting with others.

  16. Doris Motta October 7, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    Being an 80’s baby, I must say we still appreciate the traditional values and conservative talks. We also became the first generation of such lingo as well as other lingo that you find to be common. It does bother when I see someone in their twenties or even older, abbreviating almost a whole conversation. The younger generation hasn’t been enforced as much to steer away from proper grammar. Texting of course would be considered differently for me. I must agree that using the term “like” so repetitively while having a conversation with someone about topics such as current events or future goals, can throw me off tremendously.
    Of course, there are times that the word “like” will still be used subconsciously while conversating with a friend. I think it really depends on how it is being used, with who and when. It isn’t an appropriate word to use during an interview or while writing a paper. However, if you are talking with your best friend or a significant other and casually conversating, then I don’t see why it could be an issue here and there. It is interesting how at times we use the word when we are unsure of our answer. The example used in the article when giving directions, is a perfect way to prove that. Most of society no longer wants to be held accountable to their words.
    I do agree that it should be emphasized with the younger generation on how important it is to steer away from using such lingo as far as possible. The value of grammar today is very different to what it was before. My oldest is in 5th grade and the grammar he has been taught differs a lot to what it was when I was his age. I had to learn cursive, where for him it hasn’t been a must. There are times he responds to me with an abbreviation such as “IDK” and of course I quickly correct him. However, if his generation hasn’t been enforced on the importance of proper grammar, I am curious to see what it will be like when they become adults themselves.
    Otherwise, will the value of holding an adult conversation be the same? It can possibly increase in value, because when you do find someone who does talk properly, you will appreciate it so much more. Which is why I am highly enforcing that proper grammar with my own two children.

  17. Amber Esposito October 14, 2017 at 10:53 pm #

    The english language is slowly being reinvented through every passing decade. The progression of vocabulary can be attributed to the integration of other cultures, societal movements, and social environments. The use of proper language and grammar is gradually becoming simplified by younger generations as time goes on. Not only has every decade seen new slang terms (such as LOL, bae, YOLO, etc.), but sentence structure has also changed and new words have been introduced to everyday questions. Decades ago it was normal to ask someone “how do you do?”, now you might say “how’s it going?”. Sentences are becoming more abbreviated as time goes on. The progression of vocabulary can be attributed to our way of life.

    “Like”, much like the use of the word “um”, is a filler word when one can’t think of the proper word. The word “like” is also used to express emotions (ie.: “I, like, couldn’t believe what happened!”), or to detail events (ie.: “she like, walked the dog at like two in the morning”). I don’t think that the use of the word is a big deal when being used in social situations. However, much like certain topics of conversations or actions, there is a time and a place for the improper use the of the word. Whenever I catch myself using the words “like” or “um”, I inwardly cringe because it has become a habit. Not because I don’t like/cannot use proper grammar, but because I speak fast. Most of the time when people speak slower, they are able to better articulate how they feel and what they are thinking. We are living in a fast paced, multitasking world. We look for the quickest more efficient ways to get things done; and I believe that our way of life has played a great part in the reconstruction of the english language.

  18. Sean F November 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    It is common to see the meanings of some words change over time, it can start in a small subgroup of a society, it will then slowly gain followers then hit mainstream and the original meaning can be lost or disregarded. “Like” is at the forefront of common disfluencies used by millennials, as well as generation X and Y. It is so common that it is typically the first topic raised in any communications or public speech class. Although the term can change depending on the context it is being used with, the disfluency connotation is the most common in my opinion. Although the society can make this term acceptable, it can still affect the first impression of the person. As an example, if someone is applying toward an English teaching position and during the interview process constantly and consistently uses like as a disfluency, the interviewer would take that into consideration. Society might have deemed it acceptable just because the large number of people who say it, but if you are really trying to impress a professor or a potential employer limiting the usage can be very beneficial. I was first introduced to the annoying disfluency by my high school math teacher, we made an agreement in the class that if we were to use the word “like” outside of its proper definition, we would put a quarter in a jar. We wound up donating that money at the end of the year to a charity, and it was a larger amount than I expected it to be. Ever since this experience I personally have tried to monitor myself to limit such disfluencies and have encouraged others to do the same. Not to imply that anyone who is a constant user of the word is lesser or incorrect, but to be mindful and try to limit the term can make people sound more intelligent.

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