Lexicon Valley

The Soft Power of Like

Terms such as like and sort of are ways for English speakers to sound more polite.

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About the Show

If you’ve ever had curious thoughts and questions about the ways we speak, read, and write, Lexicon Valley is the show for you. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

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Episode Notes

How do you express politeness? There are the old standards, including please and thank you. But increasingly we rely on informality, profanity, and terms such as like and sort of to soften our speech and make us sound less blunt. Politeness can be remarkably complicated for modern English speakers.

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo.