Monday, May 16, 2005

The Death of "Said"

I toil on an American university campus, so I have a front row view of the latest permutations of the English language. As a result, I can confirm what most of you already know –– the word "said" is almost defunct among the next generation. As the leaders of tomorrow stroll across campus with their cell phones seemingly screwed to their heads, their conversations reveal how the word is disappearing:

"I talked to Brad, and he's like, 'whatcha doin?,' and I'm like, 'Nothin' much,' and he's like, 'Really?,' and I'm like, 'Really!,' and he's like 'So whatcha doin' later?,' and I'm like, you know, 'I don't know,' and he's like, uh, 'Really?' and I'm like..."

You get the idea. This observation is nothing new –– all of you can verify this phenomenon from personal experience –– but I had a thought today that the death of "said" will eventually have larger ramifications. I picture a Broadway theater 10 or 15 years in the future, as the next generation mounts a musical revival. As the lights dim and the audience's hearts beat faster on hearing the first of the old familiar notes, the cast launches into a modernized version of the Gershwin chestnut...

You're like, eether
And I'm like, eyether
You're like, neether
And I'm like, nyther
Let's, like, just call the whole thing off, you know?

Quote of the day:

"Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive."

--G.K. Chesterton


quebird said...

Muley has been added to my favorites.

What about the adult version of "like"? In my government world, people do not say, they "indicate." Is this done with gestures and grunts? Discreet head nods? Semaphores? "Stated" is only slightly better. My theory is having someone "say" something makes the words too permanent, definitive and the person too responsible. All bad things in gov't.

Katalina B said...

Aloha Muley! As always, I learn something new from your Blog everytime I visit "Muley's World"! I agree with you, the word "said" does seem to have made its exit from today's vocabulary.

This may not be related to your topic, but when I read "...with their cell phones seemingly screwed to their heads...", it made me think about a co-worker and a statement he had made to our supervisor...

Our computers were "down" and we could not access our email program. My co-worker says to our supervisor, "...what am I going to do? I can't email the finance officer!" (picture his comment stated in a "whining" voice).

Our supervisor's comment follows and I must say, it was "priceless"! "Well, Lynn...have you ever heard of a device called the 'telephone'?"

The response was right on target in my opinion!

Sorry to have strayed from your original point...(I am good at that!)

Mahalo (again) Muley! Keep 'em coming!

Gentleman Farmer said...

You've forgotten "goes." As in "And he goes, 'Word,' and I go, 'So Not!'"

Of course, we lawyers would never stoop to descrbing a court as having "said" anything, instead they "opine," for example.