Dudetalk in the Arctic

Bizarro takes up Dudetalk:

The cartoon walrus packs into a single sentence several English usages that some people stereotypically associate with adolescents (though these stereotypical associations are not entirely accurate, or even close to accurate in some cases): the topic-introducing discourse particle so; dudes ‘guys, men, people’, especially in compounds of the form X dudes; adjectives in -y (like pointy); unspecific things; quotative like; and free-standing whatever. The cartoon mocks these usages. (There’s a considerable literature on several of them, and most of them have gotten at least a passing mention in Language Log or on this blog.)

But it also mocks the users of such items, as sloppy thinkers, vapid, lazy, and ignorant; the items are just symptoms of these deeper defects in adolescents. So [that’s a resultative, not a topic-introducing, so] it’s no surprise that these users never got around to building pyramids.

Linguistic and social attitudes are packaged together. Such packaging has been the topic of many a Language Log posting on teenspeak and/or genderspeak, as in this recent posting of mine.

Dismissive whatever is a case in point. There’s Geoff Pullum’s scathing criticism of Naomi Baron on the presumed baleful effects of electronic communications on young people, in “Whateverist nomads thinking in snippets” (the term whateverism seems to be due to Baron), and later a brief summary of mine, here, where I observe that

whatever has come to be seen as a mark of disaffected young people all over the U.S. [indeed all over the Anglophone world], conveying apathy, dismissiveness, and a variety of related attitudes (lack of commitment, refusal to make discriminations, and so on) that draw scorn from all sorts of sources.

So disaffected that you can’t be bothered to pay attention to the space dudes even when they offer you some awesome ideas.

3 Responses to “Dudetalk in the Arctic”

  1. xyzzyva Says:

    On the other hand, is it really a sign of societal progress to take twenty years carving and moving stones using slave labor to construct something whose only purpose is to protect the dead body and luxury goods of the guy in charge until a nonexistent afterlife, but whose very ostentatiousness marks those luxury goods as an irresistible target?

    Maybe the walruses are right.

  2. Guytalk « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] as they are represented in cartoons — see, for example, “Dudetalk in the Arctic” (here) and “Teenspeak, genderspeak” (here). But mostly we talk about the linguistic features […]

  3. Highway whateverism « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] This usage is relatively recent, and is stereotypically (but not entirely accurately) associated with young people — airheaded girls and slacker boys (earlier discussion on this blog in “Dudetalk in the Arctic”, with another Bizarro cartoon, here). […]

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