Four times a year, the wise editors at the Oxford English Dictionary do their revisions, adding words to remain current with today’s lingo. Among the new entries this year were:
‘Clicktivism’, a word to describe a person who, ‘signals support for a political or social cause by means of the Internet, through social media, online petitions, etc., rather than by more substantive involvement’; a shout-out to Star Wars lovers, with ‘Yoda‘ added as a noun, meaning: ‘a person who embodies the characteristics of Yoda, esp. in being wise; an elder, sage or guru.’; ‘Non-apology’, a statement that takes the form of an apology but does not acknowledge responsibility or express regret for what has caused offence or upset; an insincere or unconvincing apology; and ‘Squee’, representing a high-pitched squealing or squeaking sound produced by an animal, musical instrument, etc.
I have noticed, however, the overuse of a certain word (and I’m guilty of it myself, although I’m trying very hard to be cognizant of it and avoid it well, similar to the proverbial plague), that seems to be pervasive in our society, and perhaps in our younger adults more than the older ones, although it’s not limited to them. That word is “like“. Now I have to admit with some shame (but only for research purposes for this blog article, mind you!), I watched a clip of “Rob and Chyna” online.
The whole Kardashian thing is a train wreck in slow motion, and I feel like it just sucks my brain cells out of my head, and this short clip reinforced that for me, ugh. But what was notable for me about it was in 52 seconds, “like” was used 8 times. Rob only did it twice, but Chyna said “like” 6 times in 16 seconds!
Are a few of you squirming in your seats right now, feeling a bit uncomfortable? Thinking “I wonder, do I do that?” If so, and the answer is maybe, then start listening to yourself when you talk, or ask your friends to do it. Or, consider falling back to an old trick I picked up in a class on how to teach adult learners. Videotape yourself and then watch it so you can see what needs to change. So if you think you might be using the word “like” too often when speaking, set up your smartphone to record yourself during conversations. Just make sure to get permission from the other people participating in the conversation to record them too, otherwise you get to stand in front of some nice judge having this conversation instead:
“Will the defendant please rise and explain herself?”
“Um yes, Your Honor. I was like trying to like record myself to see if like I say like too much when I like talk to my friends and like explain things. I just don’t understand like why I don’t do like well in interviews. I mean, like I’m a nice person, people like me, and like……”
By now the judge has driven bamboo under her fingernails and ground her molars into nubs, and is hissing between her clenched teeth at the bailiff “DO NOT MOVE ” as he waits to launch over the tables to clamp his hand over your mouth, just to make you stop using the word “like”!
Maybe those nice folks at the Oxford English Dictionary can announce days during the year where we just don’t use those overused words. Would’t it’s be interesting to find some other way to talk? When I started writing this today, I had to stop and think about it myself, as I didn’t want to use the word and say “like the proverbial plague”. Sometimes being aware and calling attention to things is enough, and we stop doing the behavior. Unfortunately, however, it seems it worked in reverse with those dratted Kardashians. Calling attention to them has just made them worse and the general public salivate like a pack of wild dogs.
Well, when the Kardashians go away, you’ll hear a loud squee from me, that’s for sure!