Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$33618

Still Needed:

$41382

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Uses of 'I feel like' - same as ever or recent mass diffusion of a marked form?
Question: Hello --

I've recently begun to notice the use of a phrase that could be
quite old, but strikes me as relatively new - at least in its
penetration in the American English that I hear in person here in
Washington, DC, as well as on television among people from many
regions of the country (and I believe Canada, too).

Though perhaps in error, I take the following uses of the phrase
''I feel like'' as standard:

-- ''I feel like [verb]-ing'' (E.g., ''I feel like swimming.'' ''I
feel like seeing a movie.'')

-- ''I feel like a/n/the [noun]'' (E.g., ''I feel like an idiot.''
''I feel like the guy in that movie.'')

Uses of the following form, however, have become marked to my
ear:

* ''I feel like there are a number of 'elephants in the room'''
<a href='http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/message-details2.cfm?' target='_blank'>http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/message-details2.cfm?</a>;
asklingid=200441365

* ''I feel like the auxiliary is affecting the choice, but I
can't explain how it is doing this'' <a href='http://linguistlist.org/ask-' target='_blank'>http://linguistlist.org/ask-</a>;
ling/message-details2.cfm?asklingid=200461385

I don't exactly know how to label the latter form. A more
accessible synonym for the lawyerly throat-clearing, or hedging,
''my sense is'' preceding a claim? Something else?

And as mentioned earlier, it strikes me as a usage not heard to
nearly the same degree even 5 years ago - but this could easily
be availability bias. (Have also tried to audit my own speech,
but unsurprisingly haven't caught myself uttering this, though
for all I know I use it regularly.)

Thoughts folks might have would be appreciated.

JDP

Reply: All the above example sound fine to me and I don't recall noticing any changes in the
use of "I feel like" over time.

I'm from Baltimore, so maybe this usage of "I feel like" to mean "it seems to me" is
native to the Mid Atlantic dialect. I would say that it's more found in colloquial English
and would not use the construction in a formal paper.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
 
Date: 31-Jul-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Uses of 'I feel like' - same as ever or recent mass diffusion of a marked form?    Susan D Fischer     (31-Jul-2013)
  2. Re: Uses of 'I feel like' - same as ever or recent mass diffusion of a marked form?    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (04-Aug-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions