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Radical Vagueness

 

AT Minding the Campus, Clark Whelton discusses the linguistic chaos that extreme tolerance and open-mindedness created. He writes:

In the mid-1980s, American English was overwhelmed by a linguistic mutation that transferred the burden of verbal communication from speaker to listener. Because it sidestepped the need for vocabulary and clarity, and because its shapeless syntax shielded speakers from the risk of saying something insensitive or incorrect, this new mode of expression won rapid acceptance, jumping from campus jargon to national discourse with astonishing speed. It was, like, you know, like, whoa. I mean, I’m like omigod! It was, hello, you know, totally amazing, and stuff.

He says the trend has basically run its course, which is surprising to me.

—- Comments —–

Kevin M. writes:

“He says the trend has basically run its course, which is surprising to me.”

No, Duh! Like, Clue #1 coming in for a landing. [ring-ring] Hello, Reality? Hang on for a sec. [holds out phone] It’s for you.

I have two nephews in their 20s who hold lengthy conversations just like that. Sometimes it’s highly amusing, other times I want to slap them.

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