Monday, June 25, 2018

When and why did "like" replace "you know" among footballers?

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Back in the 1970s there was a league table for the most times "you know" was said during a short Match of the Day interview.

I can't remember who topped it, but I remember that the count ran into dozens.

If there were a similar table today it would be the number of times "like" was said that would be counted.

We all do it to some extent, as an Indpendent article by Olivia Blair explains:
Professor Michael Handford, a professor of applied linguistics and English language at Cardiff University, says there are two main reasons people use these filler words. Often these are known as “discourse markers” (‘you know’, ‘so’) or “filled pauses”( ‘um’, ‘er’). 
“The functions they fill are often interactional and cognitive,” he told The Independent. “The interactional function is to do with politeness. If you invite somebody to a party and they say no without any of those markers they will appeal rude probably. If you say ‘um, well, you know, sorry’ it makes it much more polite. They play a really important politeness function.” 
The cognitive use of the words is when the person is trying to process information that might be more complex. 
“This is important for the speaker and the listener as well,” Professor Handford says. “If you did speak how people write people wouldn’t be able to understand you as we can’t process that much information."
This being England, there is a class angle: "er" - at least as in "Could you pass the, er, butter?" - is a middle-class usage.

But what I really want to know is when and why did "like" replace "you know" among English footballers?

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