Friday, June 22, 2007

Ponder Post 2

After the sensational, global success of my Ponder Post 1, I have decided to cash in at once with Ponder Post 2. I have been mulling over a few possibles - Why Canada? How many roads must a man walk down? Is it better abort than be barren (thanks to Samuel Beckett)? Feel free to present your musings on these subsidiary matters. But the primary matter to be pondered on this occasion is: what, exactly, does the word 'like' mean when used, apparently randomly, by girls aged between 13 and 25? Or boys, I suppose, but with them it's often hard to be sure the word they are using is actually 'like'. 

19 comments:

  1. like I'm supposed to know what it means.

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  2. you've reminded me of the poser; would you drink canada dry? why canada, why not? it's beneficial to the alaskans.

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  3. as it happens i know about girls, so i can set you right there. Now it might sound like the Middle English 'eke', a near-meaningless word used to pad out sentences, but in fact girls are merely acknowledging the centrality of metaphor not only in all speech but in human being itself, that to live is to be constantly interpreting, making connections between things.

    Instead of saying, "so, like, I was f*cking waiting for this bus, yeah? And this -" etc., they are really saying "Tav tvam asi."

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  4. I thought it was used to distinguish similes from metaphors

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  5. I find it quite endearing - no problem with it at all. rather the same way I feel towards the bombay nod. we're all the better for this sort of thing than if it didn't happen at all.

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  6. Most Canadians have a hard time answering that question.

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  7. Girls use like as a segue into a demonstration of behavior in lieu of actually describing it. So they will say thing like:

    And so she was like "no way" and he was like "aaarrrrgh", so then she was all like "speak to the hand loser" and he was like "waaaaagh" and then Brianna came up and she was all, like "whoa!" and then he was like "this sucks!", and then Brianna was like.....

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  8. To the question of roads, I can only answer:

    As many as it takes.

    (YMMV)

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  9. Uuuh, the primary matter, is, youknow, basically ahhh an interjection ?

    This remainds me that I ran across a transcript of Matt Lauer's recent interview of the two princes. William appears to say youknow about every 3 words no matter what he's saying, which isn't much because Harry answers everything.

    Bryan, given your reputation as an interviewer nonpariel, isn't it considered bad form to insert all of the "ahs," "uhs," and "youknows" into a transcript like this? I'd heard one only does that when one detests the subject.

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  10. As with Canadian bacon, Danish pastry and French kisses, the question "Why Canada?" is only asked in foreign lands and earns but puzzled looks of incomprehension in the land of the maple leaf. But ask "Why Wales?" in a Canadian sports bar and you had better be ready to punch or duck.

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  11. Americans, Ronin, tend to be more pedantic about exact transciptions. A fetish for detail, probably caused by the legal system. Here we accept a dgree of tidying up.

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  12. Puts me in mind of an episode of NYPD Blue, where the great Andy Sipowicz is interrogating a lowlife with a habit of interspersing every sentence with 'You know what I'm sayin'?' Eventually an exasperated Sip hisses, 'Listen pal, any time I don't know what you're saying, I'll flag you down.'
    This great and good man also invented the wonderful term 'aggrieved Third World pisspot'.

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  13. whenever i fear losing my hair i think of Sipowicz, and smile. When that day comes i shall hack the sleeves off my shirts & buy a tie.

    as for similes & metaphors etc. i went to school with David Hockney, and consequently never learnt anything.

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  14. You know like emm anyway yeah but not like you know, anyway you know what I mean.

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  15. Duck's 'like' is the California teenage girl 'like', which our girls do use, but our girls also use it to mean both 'y'know' and 'innit', and, occasionally, 'sort of'.

    I've heard girls stretch even the most limited pieces of information into full-blown soliloquies purely by combining vast great strings of these different uses of 'like'.

    Talking of American transcript pendantry, one thing that really bugs me is when they insert the word APPLAUSE between paragraphs of some jerk's speech.

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  16. Susan B., like, like that,June 23, 2007 3:29 pm

    Is the British "yeah?" inserted throughout recounted events the same as the American "you know what I'm sayin'?" When I listen to teens talk, it's almost like the "like" is standing in for quotation marks. "And she said, like, 'He ain't my boo,' and we were like, 'Damn straight he is, sorry ass and all!'"

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  17. Listen to 'Valley Girl' by Frank Zappa from 1982. It might be affectionate but I find it rather patronising, especially when the language of the Valley girls has caught on so spectacularly. Like, oh my god, respect, totally.

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