What’s the betting that the most commonly used word in the English language today is ‘like’, at least in the UK and amongst teenagers (particularly girls)?
Follow any group of them along the street and you hear conversations such as; “…like it woz like we couldn’t get in like coz of ‘er”. – “Na wot you mean like, just like totally outrageous like, she was like just off ‘er ‘ed like”. – “Like yea right but like, wot woz it really like”? – “Well, like totally awesome like, before I threw up like, must ‘ave been like the dodgy kebab like? Like totally disgusting like”…
Listening between the ‘likes’, there really isn’t a lot of intelligent substance in the conversation… Why is this?
Excitable young girlies appear to have an inherent need to be vocal. They rattle on about anything and everything but actually say nothing; in many ways it appears to be a trait of the species. I suppose it could also be seen as a part of the maturing and developing process however, their conversational skills often don’t improve with age! Perhaps it’s a generic thing or some sort of automaton function, designed to prepare them for later life? Obviously there is a need to have the skills which will enable them to nag converse with their partner in later life.
Getting back to the overheard conversation; I think they’d had a good night out but had to go home early because one of them was poorly?
I suppose when you think about things logically, if you want to create an accurate word picture of a given set of circumstances; you require at least a moderate command of the English language. To have the ability to go further, and embellish that into an interesting and exciting vision, you also require an education, some life experience and the ability to manipulate a metaphor or two… Our teenagers are obviously onto a looser here then!
Another aspect of teenage conversation which I find difficult to get a handle on is the relatively common use of a pseudo West Indian street language… “Woz well wicked init, na wot I mean”… Sounds so strange coming from a spotty pasty white youth that has probably never even left the area they were born. And one which doesn’t even have an ethnic minority population, never mind a Jamaican yard? Do they honestly believe that to try and ape (no pun intended) Jamaican Patois in some way increases their street cred?
When you continue along the logical thought process and consider the facts, the English language (with all its diverse input and influence), has evolved extensively over the years. If it hadn’t, the girls would be tottering along muttering; “I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty to deny”, in true Bill Shake Rags fashion. I wonder how Chaucer, widely credited by some scholars as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, would dissect the situation?
So the way our kids talk is to be expected and, simply a development and product of linguistic progression, a form of evolution… Bollocks, it’s simply laziness and poor education. If we continue to allow this ‘evolutionary’ process, it is likely that all our children will reach adulthood with all the skills so desperately craved by Doctor Doolittle.
Now, I don’t profess to be some literary or linguistic scholar however… If you feel unable to do your bit to stem this criminal destruction of communication skills, the only other option is to adopt the common methodology of; if you can’t beat them, join them. Next time you come home and you’re greeted by your teenage offspring saying, “like wher ubin, watsfer tee like”?
Just reply “like uggg init” and bloody well ignore them… Or, “Word up bredren, I iz dissin’ wot U iz sayin!”