Like, Literally, Dude
Arguing for the Good in Bad English
Paranoid about the “ums” and “uhs” that pepper your presentations? Concerned that people
notice your vocal fry? Bewildered by “hella” or the meteoric rise of “so”?
What if these features of our speech weren’t a sign of cultural and linguistic degeneration, but rather, some of the most dynamic and revolutionary tools in our arsenal?
In Like, Literally, Dude, linguist Valerie Fridland shows how we can re-imagine these forms as exciting new linguistic frontiers rather than our culture’s impending demise. With delightful irreverence and expertise built over two decades of research, Fridland weaves together history, psychology, science, and laugh-out-loud anecdotes to explain why we speak the way we do today, and how that impacts what our kids may be saying tomorrow.
By exploring the dark corners every English teacher has taught us to avoid, Like, Literally, Dude redeems our most pilloried linguistic quirks, arguing that they are fundamental to our social, professional, and romantic success—perhaps even more so than our clothing or our resumes. It explains how filled pauses benefit both speakers and listeners; how the use of “dude” can help people bond across social divides; why we’re always trying to make our intensifiers ever more intense; as well as many other language tics, habits, and developments.
Language change is natural, built into the language system itself, and we wouldn’t be who we are without it. Like, Literally, Dude celebrates the dynamic, ongoing, and empowering evolution of language, and it will speak to anyone who talks, or listens, inspiring them to communicate dynamically and effectively in their daily lives.
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