When, why, how did the word “like” become inserted so frequently into the spoken English language?

283 viewsOther

When, why, how did the word “like” become inserted so frequently into the spoken English language?

In: Other

13 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think around 90210 era. Early 90s.

There have always been delaying/thinking words or noises (umm for example), but like became more common around then.

Anonymous 0 Comments

[removed]

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s actually older than you might think! As a filler word, it has been used in Welsh English, Scottish English, and Geordie English since the 19th century.  In the US, it’s been used in this way since the 1950s, when beatniks began to use it. But it seems like it was widely popularised by teenage culture in the 80s, and particularly the song “Valley Girls” by Frank Zappa, which was making fun of how teenage girls in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California were speaking at the time.  Edit: there’s a good article on the history of “like” [here](https://archive.ph/XRgmx) if you’re interested. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m sure it’s been used as a filler word for a long time, but it was nowhere near as common when I was a kid in the 90s, it really blew up over the last 30 years.

Anonymous 0 Comments

“Filler words” are a natural part of speech. Those types of words happen in every language and region, but differ from language to language and region to region. So in the USA they tend to say “um”, whereas in Australia we say “mm”. Some other places they say “err”. You can use any word you like because filler words have no meaning but just indicate a pause. Little fads happen – so “like” as a filler word is a fad that goes back in time, but became really popular in the 80’s due to the Valley girl thing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It originally comes from the “Valley Girl Accent” – a accent/speaking style coming from the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles. The accent dates back to the late 1970s, and was in peak use in that area during the 1980s. Among other things, this style of speaking used “Like” in at least three different ways:

– As a filler, similar to “umm” or “uh”
– As a quotative – “I was like ‘no!'” – meaning, “I said ‘No'”.
– As an approximation – saying something is “like, 6 feet deep” means it’s about 6 feet deep.

Sometimes the second and third uses were combined – saying “He was like, you wanna go out, and I was like, YES!” could stand in for a much longer conversation involving the guy asking speaker out.

Because of the proximity to the California media industry (multiple TV and movie studios are in the San Fernando Valley; and Hollywood is not far away.), Valley culture was often portrayed in movies and TV shows; which resulted in it’s spread.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In 1982 my English teacher had a rule against using any of these four common filler words (phrases)- Like, I Mean, You Know, OK.

Anonymous 0 Comments

#1. Anyone saying the movie Clueless, is totally clueless. If you need evidence,  listen to Frank Zappa or watch old Scooby Doo

There’s a story from the 60s, famous journalist Walter Cronkite was supposed to read a new Winston Cigarette ad, “Winston takes like a cigarette should”

The journalist refused to say the line because of the grammatical errors, and said, ” Winston tastes as a cigarette should.”

This is often noted as one of the early examples of the word “like” being used incorrectly but it then made it’s way into popular culture and regular language. 

   “I feel as if I have a cold” 

Became: “I feel like I have a cold”

Then it evolved further away from grammatical rules….

 “Valley girl” speak, “I think I have like, a cold or something”

Now get even lazier with it!

Shaggy, “Like, I have a cold, Scoob”

Anonymous 0 Comments

It must already have been common in California in the 1960s, because Gore Vidal’s novel *Myra Breckinridge* (1968) has a joke about the drowning Californian who shouted “like, help!”

Anonymous 0 Comments

Stuff you should know guys did an ep on the word like! It was really informative and funny. Really recommend checking it out