Right now I am sitting in my favorite cafe and I cannot help listening to the conversation that a group of young twenty-somethings are having. It’s not just a matter of American English being filtered through the white noise. Two people in the party are so incredibly loud that everyone must be privy to their discussion. There is no escape.
The loudest member of the conversational quartet is not a native speaker of American English, or any other dialect of English for that matter. Her English is excellent. It’s fluid and flows at a speed akin to native speakers, and her accent is slight. However, the thing that rings falsest to me is her utter overuse of the word like.
I know there is a tendency in North American English to liberally throw around the word like. (I say North American because I have heard Canadians pepper their speech in the same way.) For example:
Like I was doing X, when all of the sudden, like, you know, this happened…
That is like so cool.
Now I won’t pretend that I don’t speak in this manner on occasion. However, this foreigner is employing this word in every sentence and in every comment. To follow her example, it is like so overdone.
Listening to her, I wonder, when I use French and/or German slang, do I sound this ridiculous?