Friday, February 6, 2015
Ready or not, quotative like will be taking over
Like sometimes is more than a filler word. Today’s XKCD cartoon, which is shown above, was titled Quotative Like, and contains the following quotation from the linguist Patricia Cukor-Avila:
"Eventually all the people who hate this kind of thing are going to be dead, and the ones who use it are going to be in control."
I hadn’t thought much about that language feature, but found an article titled And I’m Like, Read This, by Jessica Love at American Scholar on December 22, 2011 which explained:
“So what’s the deal with the quotative like? Is it just a lazier, slangier way of saying says? Linguists are like, No! The general consensus is that the quotative like encourages a speaker to embody the participants in a conversation. Thus, the speaker vocalizes the contents of participants’ utterances, but also her attitudes toward those utterances. She can dramatize multiple viewpoints, one after another, making it perfectly clear all the while which views she sympathizes with and which she does not. Hear yourself say these sentences aloud: I walked up to Randy and he was like, Why are you late? I was like, Because you gave me the wrong time! You have, in addition to relaying the he-says she-says bones of a conversation, probably betrayed some moral indignation. Randy was unreasonable, and you were in the right. It’s possible to do all this with says, of course, but not nearly as naturally.”
On January 25th in the Boston Globe Britt Peterson discussed how Linguists are like,‘Get used to it!’
If you have both hands free, then you can instead use pairs of fingers to make quotation marks in the air like Dr. Evil does for “ozone layer” at 1:15 in this video clip from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. (WARNING - that clip contains the S-word).