like a bit of or a bit like

Vincent Tam

Senior Member
Chinese and Cantonese
Hi everyone

I recently heard the following sentence on a clip

"I feel like you're speaking like a bit of Arabic here"

Even though I understood what the man was saying, I still suppose that it wasn't like the way a native speaker would say

If I'm not mistaken, native speakers would say like

"I feel like you're speaking a bit like Arabic here"
Or
"I feel like you're speaking a little bit like Arabic here"
Or
"I feel like you're speaking a kind of like Arabic here"

Please correct me if I'm wrong

Thank you so much
:thank you:
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I recently heard the following sentence on a clip

    "I feel like you're speaking like a bit of Arabic here"
    Hi, Vincent. As far as I can tell, this is a fairly clumsy way to say You seem to be speaking Arabic here. I think that you would do well to avoid the excessive use of like in your remarks. If you let it become a habit, it can be hard to get rid of.

    I think or I believe are generally better than I feel like when you are expressing an opinion or belief about something.

    Or
    "I feel like you're speaking a kind of like Arabic here"
    This version is pretty close to the original sentence. Unfortunately, it also sounds about as awkward as the original sentence did.
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are too many "likes". May I suggest:
    It seems as though you are speaking something like Arabic
    or
    I feel as though you are speaking a kind of Arabic
    or
    I guess you might have been speaking a bit of Arabic
    or
    Your speech sounds a bit like Arabic
     

    Vincent Tam

    Senior Member
    Chinese and Cantonese
    Hi, Vincent. As far as I can tell, this is a fairly clumsy way to say You seem to be speaking Arabic here. I think that you would do well to avoid the excessive use of like in your remarks. If you let it become a habit, it can be hard to get rid of.

    I think or I believe are generally better than I feel like when you are expressing an opinion or belief about something.


    This version is pretty close to the original sentence. Unfortunately, it also sounds about as awkward as the original sentence did.
    Thank you, owlman5 :thank you: :)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    I recently heard the following sentence on a clip

    "I feel like you're speaking, like, a bit of Arabic here"

    Is that what you heard? Adding "like" with 2 short pauses? That is not done by most English speakers. It is a dialect. I grew up speaking that way, in northern New Jersey (30 km from New York City). But most Americans don't use it, so don't learn it.

    In that dialect, we added ", like, " to many sentences. It means "sort of" or "more or less" or "something similar to". So the speaker says you are speaking something similar to (sounds like; might be) Arabic.

    I have heard one linguist discuss this feature. He said that many languages have similar features. Features like this may "soften" statements, or make them "more casual", or make them more vague.
     

    Vincent Tam

    Senior Member
    Chinese and Cantonese
    Is that what you heard? Adding "like" with 2 short pauses?

    Right, there was a short pause right after "like".

    But most Americans don't use it, so don't learn it.

    I heard a lot of this usage with "like" on YouTube though. but now after reading all the suggestions from all of you(you,owlman and abluter), I think I should consider "like" as a casual way whereas "seem" is formal.

    For example:
    " You seem to be speaking Arabic here" for formal

    “you are speaking something like Arabic” for casual occasions

    Am I right?

    So the speaker says you are speaking something similar to (sounds like; might be) Arabic.
    [Video link removed. DonnyB - moderator]

    Thank you, dojibear :thank you:
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    Many teenagers in UK at the moment say "I'm, like, what are you doing here?", meaning "I said, what are you doing here?"
    I think it's appalling, but then I'm just a "crusty old geezer."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    I think I should consider "like" as a casual way whereas "seem" is formal.
    I think that ", like, " is a pragmatic particle in English. English has several. They aren't part of the sentence grammar, but they are put into speech as short words or phrases:

    Well,
    I mean,
    Like,
    LOL (in texting)
    you know,
    Mind you,
    anyway,

    Linguists study these things in languages. Linguists say that many languages have pragmatic particles.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    Many teenagers in UK at the moment say "I'm, like, what are you doing here?", meaning "I said, what are you doing here?"
    I think that is a different grammar. Direct speech can be written (in modern AE) in two different ways:

    1. She said, "Why do you want it?"
    2. She was like, "Why do you want it?"

    I think using "like" is fairly new (the last 20 years?) in the US. Maybe it is older in AAVE -- I don't know. The first many times that I saw this (on TV or in movies) it was AAVE.

    There is a difference between 1 and 2. She said repeats her words and nothing but words. She was like introduces a complete imitation: her words, her voice inflections, her facial expressions, even her actions. For example:

    She was like, "Oh no you did-unt!" (spoken with a belligerent tone, a waving finger, and head movements)

    The words were "Oh no you didn't!" The meaning was "you can NOT get away with doing that!"
     
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