Not all filler words are created equal. Did you know there's a difference between "ah" and "um"? Yeah, neither did I! As a podcast editor, I hear people speak, a lot. All the nuances in their voice, the words they choose, and how they present themselves. And in this work, when I'm scrolling in the forums, other editors gripe about people's overuse of filler words like "um", "ah", and "like" all the time. Alexandra D'Arcy is my first guest on the podcast. She is a Professor of Linguistics and the Director of the Sociolinguistics Research Lab at the University of Victoria, where she is also the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Humanities. Alexandra debunks the notion that 'like" is a modern crutch word used only by the young and flighty. In fact, it's more complicated than you think. Her book is titled "Discourse-Pragmatic Variation in Context; 800 Years of LIKE". That is a mouthful for me, so I asked her to dumb it down for me who's only been to radio school, not an academic, and wanted to know what the heck does discourse-pragmatic variation even mean!?!?! We discuss the many jobs that "like" has, the criticism of women's language, and what really is modern language. Here are Alexandra D'Arcy's "like" examples: FINAL LIKE (adverb, ‘as it were’) He was quite gentle and quiet LIKE. (Corpus of Historical American English/Uncle Tom’s Cabin/1852) We need to smarten it up a bit LIKE. (Toronto, woman, born 1927) DISCOURSE MARKER (adverb, ‘for example, ‘approximately’, ‘in this way’, ‘let me illustrate’, etc.) They never went out in a small canoe. LIKE, we went from here to Cape Beale. They had great large war canoes. (Victoria BC, woman, born 1875) Och, they done all types of work. LIKE they ploughed and harrowed. (Southwest Tyrone, man, born 1943) It’s probably about a bit longer than this room. LIKE it’s probably like that wide and like a bit longer. (Victoria BC, boy, born 2006) ALSO THE DISCOURSE MARKER, but after a verb that introduces quoted speech He said LIKE “Stored water is just like stored dollars.” (Victoria BC, man, born 1935) Imagine being told by your parents LIKE “We know you have it in you.” (Victoria BC, man, born 1959) DISCOURSE PARTICLE (adverb, but put focus on what follows or allows speaker to mitigate claim on truth or authority) Well right in front of that they had boards LIKE built across. (Victoria BC, woman, born 1874) They were just LIKE sitting, waiting to die. (Scotland, man, born 1925) His father had LIKE a restaurant cafe in Regent Street. (New Zealand, man, born 1955) Links mentioned in the episode: Connect with Alexandra D'Arcy on Twitter @LangMaverick https://twitter.com/langmaverick?lang=en "Wordslut" by Amanda Montell https://bookshop.org/books/wordslut-a-feminist-guide-to-taking-back-the-english-language/9780062868886 Continue the conversation with me! Find more secrets and leave a voicemail at http://www.VisibleVoicePodcast.com/ Email Mary at VisibleVoicePodcast@gmail.com Engage with the show on Instagram at @VisibleVoicePodcasthttps://www.instagram.com/organizedsoundproductions/ To learn more about or work with Mary, click on over at http://www.OrganizedSound.ca.