“Discourse marker like (DML) is recognized as a highly stigmatized feature of American English, one with strong ideological ties to inarticulate, ‘Valley Girl’ speech. Previous work suggests that individual listeners form impressions that both reference and perpetuate DML’s status, as DML- containing speech is judged as friendlier and less intelligent than controls.”
But what about the magnitude and/or stability of DML- based impressions or the potential interactions between said effects and individual processing styles? For answers, turn to work produced at the linguistics department of Michigan State University, where Ashley Hesson and Madeline Shellgren have recently completed the first moment-by-moment impression-formation study of “like”.
“Our results indicate that DML has an initial negative effect on both FRIENDLINESS and INTELLIGENCE ratings. While the ‘unfriendly’ perception is relatively transient, the ‘unintelligent’ evaluation persists and intensifies over time. Individuals with relatively high levels of social aptitude and/or cognitive flexibility are largely responsible for these trends.“
BONUS: Author Dr. Madeline Shellgren (now at Davenport University, Michigan, US) is in the process of assembling one of the very few formal academic studies of ‘Redneck-speak’.
See: VERMONT REDNECKS: WHAT LOCAL INSTANTIATIONS OF A SUPRA-LOCAL IDENTITY MIGHT TELL US ABOUT THE EMERGENCE AND MAINTENANCE OF A GLOBAL IMAGINED COMMUNITY
TASK [optional] Count the number of times the word ‘like’ is used (as a discourse marker) in the video above.
BONUS (possibly unrelated): The new study “Does ‘Like’ Really Mean Like? A Study of the Facebook Fake Like Phenomenon and an Efficient Countermeasure“. (Thanks to Betsy Devine for bringing this to our attention.)