Speaking properly

In high school I had a French teacher who had a problem with the word “like.” When we spoke English before class, all the students used the word “like” in colloquial terms: “blah blah blah, like, blah blah blah.” I distinctly remember one day when got on our case about it. She said we should not say “like” when we spoke English, since we did not use that word in the same context in French. I suppose every language has its own version of “like.” It’s a word that becomes a filler between thoughts.

I do not think many people around me say “like” anymore. Mostly because we work and speak more professionally rather than the way we did in high school or college. It’s possible that some slang only occurs during a particular time of life. I’m sure if I’m speaking really comfortably, I’ll use “like” more often. I was a bit taken aback when I heard “China’s ‘Little Emperors’ Lucky, Yet Lonely In Life” one morning. Both interviewees use the word “like” in the colloquial sense. I have a feeling this was not officially taught in school. Perhaps it is the influence of American media? Although, I don’t think it seemed as shocking the second time I heard the interview.

One thought on “Speaking properly

  1. If you’re a non-native speaker, it’s easy to pick up casual phrases and apply them to a slightly wrong context. Using ‘like’ casually comes across uneducated, but this is especially the case when it’s overused by a non-native speaker.

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