Like, I like Like
April 4, 2014 8:24 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone remember a recent article by (I think) a linguist whose main point was defending the colloquial use of "like", as a way to explicate internal monologue in a way that wasn't really done before? For obvious reasons this is very hard to google for. I don't remember if I saw it here on Metafilter or some other source.
posted by bleep to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Nevermind, I think I found it. BBC
posted by bleep at 8:27 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not really the one I was looking for, it was a bit more authoritative. Sorry to threadsit.
posted by bleep at 8:29 PM on April 4, 2014

Is it this? It also links to "The Use of like as a Marker of Reported Speech and Thought: A Case of Grammaticalization in Progress," Suzanne Romaine and Deborah Lange. American Speech.
Vol. 66, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 227-279
posted by unknowncommand at 8:40 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

'Quotative like' is the term a linguist would have used for this, I'm pretty sure.
posted by clavicle at 8:45 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Probably way older than what you're thinking of, but linguist Geoffrey Nunberg had a column in Fresh Air in 2001 talking about it (also reprinted in his book "Going Nucular")
posted by Jeanne at 8:48 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

My first step in looking for something like this is to go search at Language Log. Here are a couple of the first things I found just with a search for "like" in their site search:
"like" and young women
older piece on the discourse particle "like"

And I think these aren't the sense you're looking for, but including in case:
"be like" as synonym for "say"
"feel like" as synonym for "think"
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:57 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, all of these links are great. I think the Jezebel article linked from Language Log is the specific one I was thinking of, but all of these were interesting to read. I appreciate it!
posted by bleep at 9:02 PM on April 4, 2014

I may have been confusing the linguist angle with this article about doge
posted by bleep at 9:20 PM on April 4, 2014

Oh, and just for further reading- in one of those LL posts, they link to another one that contains a list of previous LL posts on "like": here, scroll to the end of the post for the listing.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:27 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Arthur Plotnik in a book whose name I can't remember (The Elements of Expression, maybe?) defended this use of "I was like . . ."

He wrote (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "I was like give me a break," is equivalent to saying "in my response, I was similar to a person who was saying, 'give me a break.' "
posted by wjm at 1:39 AM on April 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since you mentioned doge: here is another article about, like, doge. wow.
posted by Milau at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is awesome. I wrote part of my college linguistics thesis (in 2003) on this, and remember being shocked at all the amazingly varied usages of the word. I came away from it thinking it was like one of the most versatile word in the English language and perhaps in ANY language.
posted by ORthey at 9:32 AM on April 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

"quotative be like" is the phrase you want. Google pulls up about 24,800 results, but the first 10 or so should lead you to some other good places (besides the BBC one you were originally looking for).
posted by iamkimiam at 11:11 AM on April 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another defense of "like", among other things: Like, Degrading the Language? No Way
posted by jjwiseman at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

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