Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English (Hardcover)

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A lively linguistic exploration of the speech habits we love to hate—and why our “like”s  and “literally”s actually make us better communicators

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.

About the Author

Valerie Fridland is a professor of linguistics in the English Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. She writes a popular language blog on Psychology Today called "Language in the Wild," and is also a professor for The Great Courses series.

Praise For…

Praise for Like, Literally, Dude:

“Valerie Fridland is your smart, funny friend who knows everything you ever wondered about language.  With a parade of revelations in each chapter, she will have you texting your friends with mind-blowing tidbits. I loved it!”—Mignon Fogarty, author of New York Times bestseller Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

"Like, Literally, Dude is that rare gem that combines authoritative scholarship with engaging readability. Through a series of stories on the historical origins and social uses of an array of ‘annoying’ language features, Fridland shows us how even the newest features stem from long, honorable traditions and actually serve to enrich the English language."—Natalie Schilling, Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and creator of The Great Courses's English in America: A Linguistic History

"Did you know that it was women who started saying 'I've got to' more than 'must," or that the '-in' in words like "singin'" isn't short for '-ing' but for something else in Old English now long gone? Like, Literally, Dude will give you the lowdown on that as well as the words in its title. Endless wisdom."—John McWhorter, author of Nine Nasty Words and host of the podcast Lexicon Valley

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593298329
ISBN-10: 0593298322
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: April 18th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English