If you start out, "I was, like, Oh, my God," you just are not going to be able to bring it back to eloquence. Can't be done. Language is ever changing, but there are evolutions that are not for the better. Using was like instead of said or asked is one of them—as in "I was like, are we going to the mall?"
This has bothered me for a while but it was set off anew this morning. My friend, Dr. Effervescent, and I do not see enough of each other to suit either of us. However, this weekend another friend received an award and we traveled to lay witness to the ceremony. We were grabbing a last few minutes together on the swing in front of the Comfort Inns and Suites when a woman we'd never seen before chose to join us and chat us up. We were not delighted but it is, after all, a free country and we didn't own the swing. Being polite, we talked to her.
Then she started in about our accents. I let it go on for a while but, finally, I said, "You know, we don't have accents. We are at home." This was not precisely true, of course. We were at the before mentioned Comfort Inns and Suites in Elizabethtown, Kentucky but we were in our region. She thought it was funny but I wasn't kidding. I'll take dialect but I only have an accent outside of the southeastern United Stated.
I notice that with each generation, dialects become a little more homogeneous. My mother and my aunts said forevah, nevah, and ambah—that's forever, never, and amber—but my cousins and I do not. We pronounce our er's. It can't be helped. I wouldn't even want to help it because unnatural dialect is not attractive.
But this set me thinking about the phrases and words that have changed for me since I was a child. Like the dialect changes, it was not a conscious decision. I don't know where it came from but some where along the way:
- supper (as the evening meal) became dinner
- dinner (as in the noon meal) became lunch
- housecoat became robe
- dishrag became tea towel
- creamed potatoes became mashed potatoes
- bathing suit became swimsuit
- house shoes became slippers
Unlike I was like, none of these things are bad but it makes me sad. I let these perfectly good words that were part of my natural language be replaced like garter belts and stockings. (Okay, so I'm not old enough that I ever knew anything but pantyhose but you get my drift.)
But I am willful so I have made a decision: I am taking back the dishrag and creamed potatoes.
How has your language changed?