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Like, Whatevs Bruh

No it’s not because I’m old, they just sound like idiots

teengager in a beanie

I dunno about you, but listening to the youth of today… actually it’s not even just the youth as there are plenty of adults too, speaking like…how can I put this politely… ‘uneducated morons’. And don’t you dare try that ‘You’re just old and all old people say that about younger generations.’ shuff.

Hmmm, better not get drawn into the ‘Isn’t music of this generation terrible?’ debate either. But still, the music is bad isn’t it, I mean….hang on, off topic. Where was I?

Oh, right. Language. The way people speak. Aside from the more obvious, increased use of slang, use of acronyms (lol, omg) and the desensitisation of swearwords, there are some other, more abhorrent language trends that are running rife through the way kids are speaking.

neon sign

I Get It, I Really Do

I understand the natural introduction of acronyms. Since mobile phones and texting seemingly the primary form of communication for many, it was only a matter of time that acronyms are used in texts to shorten the amount of typing needed.

But these have become the way we talk too. The thing that grates on me the most is the way some words are used. Unnecessarily, repeatedly and mostly incorrectly and there’s one that trumps them all. ‘Like’.

‘Like’, a simple, versatile word with multiple meanings. Since it can be used as a preposition (She has a dog like mine), a conjunction (I feel like I’ve been stabbed through the heart), a noun (let’s arrange them like with like), an adjective (He seems like minded) and then as an adverb informally through speech (And she was like ‘No way’).

For me it’s this last one that I have a problem with. Trivial, I know, but annoying. You may not have noticed it, but once your attention is drawn to it, you won’t be able to unhear it. I was aware of it for a time but it wasn’t until I heard an interview with a lady on the radio that it hit home. She was trying to convey something worthwhile, but the entire message was lost in her expression and over use of the word ‘like’. It was endless, every other word was replaced or filled with 'like'.

Teenage girls on mobile phone

Like, Like, like

‘So, it was like Tuesday, and like I was going to the shop to like get some like milk. And like just as I got there, I like bumped into this friend of mine and she was like ‘Wow, I haven’t seen you in like ages. And I was like ‘I know, we like really need to catch up. We should go for like a coffee or something.’ She was like ‘Yeah, that’d be like really nice, I’ll send you a text or like call you or something.’

Now this entire paragraph or conversation can be written or spoken without using the word ‘like’. Some of them are just meaningless fillers whilst others are used in place of saying verbs such as ‘said’, ‘replied’, ‘mentioned’ etc.

It’s a trend in speech that has rapidly grown over recent years. I’ve noticed it mostly due to being surrounded by children through work or my own children at home.

teenage boys skateboarding

Ugly Language

You see it isn’t just the frustration of hearing it repeatedly, that makes the language ugly, but it comes down to a fundamental life skill that we should be trying to teach our children to communicate effectively.

Admittedly, it’s not always as extreme as in the example above, but it is increasing exponentially. I think it’s another way we can guide our children to be better communicators and sound more intelligent. As I said, maybe you find it trivial, maybe now you’re aware you’ll start to find it increasingly annoying as I do.

When my kids have friends over I hear them chatting and it’s ‘like, like, like, like like, like like…..’ Ahhhhhhg!!! There’s a friend of my son and when he walks through the door, I joke with him that he has a limit of saying ‘like’ 10 times before he has to go outside. He barely makes it from the front door to the couch. But like most dads, I do it in a jokey, teasing kind of way that makes the kids laugh.

Surprised man

Tease It Out

Interestingly, the way I approach it seems to have an impact, as my own kids have got much better at not using ‘like’ incorrectly or unnecessarily. I simply do this:

Child: ‘It was like Wednesday and there were like 3 of us and…’

Me: ‘Hold on, what do you mean it was ‘like’ Wednesday? Either it was or it wasn’t. Is Saturday ‘like’ Wednesday? And how many of you were there? What’s ‘like’ 3? Is 5 or 7? Are we basing this on prime numbers because they’re ‘like’ 3 or don’t you know haw many there were.

It goes from my kids laughing, to the arms folded, head tilted ‘Dad’. To ‘Daaaaad!’, to ‘Dad!! Stop it’s annoying. To which my reply is ‘I know it’s like totally annoying, but like I can’t like help it.’ Then I get the groan/laugh that follows most of my dad jokes.

The point is, my kids have improved their speaking because of this, that I rarely have to do it at all.

Group chat

It’s a Good Life Skill

Communicating effectively in both spoken and written terms are an important lifeskill. It could mean the being successful or not in a job interview. I’m pretty sure a number of people have missed out on employment over the years for not sounding as eloquent as they should.

If you can master that then you can move onto the next couple of annoying language traits such as the use of ‘literally’ and ‘totally’.

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