Like, can we stop with ‘like,’ pulease!

I really try my best not to listen in on other travelers conversations as I wind my way over hill and dale on my daily trek to work, however there are times when listening is unavoidable. On a recent work day ride, a verbose voyager happily chatted away discussing who-knows-what with who-knows-who for the entire trip.

Not only was the conversation loud and intrusive, but what was more troubling was that her entire 25 minute diatribe was littered with the word “like.” It was, like, so much so, like, that I would say her abusive and, like, overuse of the word was, like, well, like a trash compactor regurgitating after having a little bit too much to like, digest.

In fact, if she omitted “like” from her oration, there wouldn’t have been any words left to convey a single thought. It would have been just a dotting of adjectives and sometimes verbs spewed into the airwaves.

What has happened to our ability to converse in our mother tongue? What was once a beautiful way to share feelings, thoughts and concepts has deteriorated into initialed, simile-filled rants and raves that convey nothing and express even less. Like, “acks” (what is that anyway?), OMG, IDK, WTF, SMH, and the ever popular LOL has replaced our ability to speak in a cohesive, intelligent, and enjoyable way. The expressive words that once filled our English language have disappeared amid a trash heap of popular jargon and catchy phrases that has dumbed-down our collective IQ to an all-time low.

When I was in grade school years ago (yes before the computer and, according to my daughter, when there were still horse-drawn buggies), our teachers encouraged and challenged us to improve and build our vocabulary by learning a new word every day. The end result was that upon our graduation we were fully equipped to enter into the world and be effective and enjoyable speakers. Sadly, that factor of a students education no longer exists today. The focus on education today is how to infer, tabulate and parse a prime number to its nearest 10th. Sure, mathematics and critical thinking are important, but what is the value if you can’t convey the principle?

Not for Nuthin, but it’s really time to revive the art of public speaking.

Like, soon, ya’ know.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues — and grammar — every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com e-mail her at jdelbuono@cnglocal.com.