Professor D’Arcy on like a contemporary vernacular

“The selective attention paid to the language of adolescents has led to the enduring belief that young people are ruining the language and that, as a consequence, the language is degenerating. One feature of contemporary vernaculars that is often held up as exemplification of these ideological principles is like, the ‘much-deplored interjection… that peppers the talk of so many of the unpliant young these days’ (Wilson 1987, 92). There is, in fact, an intricate lore surrounding like. It includes the idea that like is meaningless, that women say it more than men do, and that it is an Americanism, introduced by the Valley Girls.”

So writes professor Alexandra D’Arcy (Director of the Sociolinguistics Research Lab, Department of Linguistics, and Chair, Human Research Ethics Board, Office of Research Services, University of Victoria, Australia) in LIKE AND LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY: DISENTANGLING FACT FROM FICTION American Speech, (2007) 82 (4): 386-419.

Continuing the considerations, Professor D’Arcy has a new book devoted to the subject of ‘Like’ entitled :  Discourse-Pragmatic Variation in Context : Eight hundred years of LIKE (John Benjamins Publishing, $143, hardback and e-book)