Friday, January 4, 2008

The Meaning of Like

Like: not "said" - when, in the destruction of the English language, did "like" become a synonym of "said"? I get onto my children for this all the time, to no avail. "Was like" <> "said" (that is, "was like" does not equal "said").

"I was like, 'whatever works for you.'" - um, no, you aren't like "whatever works for me" - if you were, you wouldn't be saying "was like" when you mean "said" - instead, you'd say "said" when you mean "said."

"Was like" - to be similar to. "I was like" or "he was like" or "she was like" or "they were like" - all of these mean "to be similar to" - not "said."

AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! Someone help me, please! Let's get English back to English instead of allowing it to continue to progress down this path of destruction until, several generations from now, no one will be able to understand this that I'm writing! We'll lose all sorts of great literature because people won't understand the meaning. For instance, consider this post - an example of losing the meaning over generations. Please, help save English. Forget about saving the world (global warming isn't something that's going to kill us, nor is there a whole lot that we're doing to cause - or can do to remedy - it); what good is a world where you can no longer communicate with your history (since you can't understand what was written "back then")? Let's save our English!


Laudio said...

Devil's advocate:

Have you noticed that when people use "like" like this (most of the time), they offer a bit of pantomime or additional verbal inflection that wouldn't be there if they simply said "said"?

"I was like" may be a way that the cultural linguistic geniuses (genii?) of the day have been able to implement a deeper meaning into the Engrish language.

It's pretty entrenched, irregardless (new post, anyone?) of whether or not we like it. It's even morphed into a shortcut word:


Tony M said...

"I's" - there's another of those "illegal" contractions... kind of like "there're" (there are).

I suppose some may offer additional inflection, but I think it would be possible to do the same with the word "said." Also, my daughter doesn't seem to offer the inflection - she just uses "was like" instead of "said" (which, actually, is inefficient, since it's two syllables vs. one). And she does it back-to-back as well:

"She was like, 'whatever,' and I was like, 'yeah, whatever,' and we were like, 'whatever,' so I was like, 'I'll see you later, then,' and she was like, 'ok,' and I was like, 'ok.'"

In the above "was like" vs. "said" results in an extra 6 syllables. And it would be said with no extra inflection. Her use of "was like" is pervasive enough that I've not actually heard her use the word "said" in years.

Yes, very entrenched. So... how do we fix it? :)

Laudio said...

That makes me think of Valley Girl speech. At least we can be thankful that some dialects turn out to be passing fads.

I have to note that I'm waiting for you to dive headlong into nonsensical things that adults say, too, like, "I could care less."

Tony M said...

It should be "I couldn't care less" - but, you're right, too often it's said the way you said it. Silly adults. Silly people.

I'll have to work on that one... a "silly adult sayings" post... at least I have a title now...

Laudio said...

You do realize that the use of "irregardless" in my first comment was intentional, correct?

Tony M said...

Yes... one to add to the "silly adult sayings" post.

But since I posted twice yesterday, I don't know if I should post again today. Or maybe I could go for a Guinness World Record on number of meaningful blog posts in a 24-hour time period or something....

Jane said...

I was like, "Wow! Tony M has a blog?!" Cool! There're so many things I don't know about him! LOL!


Tony M said...

Scary, isn't it? The question is: do you really want to know all the things you don't? :)

Cecily said...

Ha ha! LOL!

(OK, I'm just teasing you with the LOL's... cuz I no how much u luv txt-spk.)