Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Like, really interesting.

A very brief post, just directing you to this article, which combines two of my favourite things, feminism and language. Thanks to Sarah Hutchinson, Oxford student and county councillor, who brought it to my attention. Its basic premise is that women use 'like' as a filler as a means of making themselves more socially acceptable, as it makes them sound less aggressive (i.e. assertive). Now you might also want to read Deborah Cameron on the subject, an Oxford linguist who has debunked the male/female language myth. Or you might want to consider it in the light of the research that shows that using fillers actually makes our listeners pay more attention, as they have to work hard to filter out the ums, ahs, and ers. Does 'like' count? You may not want to listen to someone who can't string a sentence together without all those little time-wasting syllables, but your brain knows better.

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