April 30, 2023

Dude! Valerie Fridland on Like The Power of Language

Dude! Valerie Fridland on Like The Power of Language
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This week I was delighted to welcome Valerie Fridland to the show for a really fun conversation about her latest book, Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English. By exploring the dark corners every English teacher has taught us to avoid, Like, Literally, Dude redeems our most pilloried linguistic quirks, arguing that they are fundamental to our social, professional, and romantic success—perhaps even more so than our clothing or our resumes. It explains how filled pauses benefit both speakers and listeners; how the use of “dude” can help people bond across social divides; why we’re always trying to make our intensifiers ever more intense; as well as many other language tics, habits, and developments.

In this chat Valerie and I discuss the origins of this great book and how the evolution of language has been rapidly accelerating alongside developments in technology and communication. Valerie helps to guide listeners through the history of some unique words and phrases while unpacking the etymology of the word Dude and how it can give us a glimpse into the history of masculinity and culture in the 19th and 20th century. In addition we discuss some of the more notorious quirks of language and speaking in the modern age and discover how idiosyncrasies such as Um and Uh are by no means “Bad English'' and can even benefit clarity and empathy in our everyday conversations.

Valerie Fridland is a professor of linguistics in the English Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. She writes a popular language blog on Psychology Today called “Language in the Wild,” In addition her lecture series, Language and Society, is featured with The Great Courses. With a PhD in linguistics, Valerie is an expert on the relationship between language and society, her work has appeared in numerous academic journals and she is co-author of the book Sociophonetics. 

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